3 Free Senior Tax Tips That Will Make You Feel Really Smart
All of a sudden, I was responsible for my dad’s taxes in addition to my own. I didn’t even know how he usually did them or where to find his detailed paperwork.
He was living with trauma-induced dementia in a small family care home, and couldn’t help answer questions. I sleuthed out the name of his tax preparer, but felt sure it had to be simple enough to file on my own. After completing his taxes for $100 with online filing software, I realized that I could have done it for free with expert help.
With the tax deadline looming, jump on these free tools that are currently available for elder tax assistance.
1. The IRS offers Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). Just enter your zip code to find someone near you to help.
2. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide also provides free tax preparation in different ways – in-person, low-contact, or contact-free – depending on what service is available in your area. Some sites can provide service in one or two visits, or you may not need to visit a site at all, with all interactions taking place online. Brief descriptions of each service type offered at Tax-Aide sites are available by selecting the “Service Types” tab on this AARP page.
3. You can also choose to prepare your tax return yourself, with the use of the free OnLine Taxes software. Its availability can vary by year.
Senior Tax Credit
Check in to the Senior Tax Credit for the Elderly and Disabled. If your senior qualifies, you could take up to $7,500 directly off their tax bill. To qualify, a person must be 65 years of age by the end of the tax year. The IRS also establishes income guidelines for each tax year. Check with a tax professional.
The April 18 deadline is coming up, so don’t wait to reach out to counselors at the IRS and AARP Foundation for questions about your senior’s taxes. If you are caring for a senior in your home, talk to a tax counselor about deductions for related costs and about claiming them as a dependent. The time is now to utilize these free resources for your senior’s taxes.
You know all about your senior’s habits,
but you don’t have to know
all about how to do their taxes.
Debbie McDonald is the Founder of Ways & Wane, an online platform that helps you help your aging parent. She lives in Northern California with her husband.