Tax Rates for Seniors: What You Need to Know

When you're over 65, the standard deduction increases. The specific amount depends on your tax filing status and changes every year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) understands this, and offers a number of tax breaks exclusively for older adults, including a special tax credit only for people age 65 and older. To qualify for this deduction, you must turn 65 by January 1 of the following tax year.

You can choose to apply for the standard deduction instead of itemizing them, but you can't do both. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) nearly doubled the basic standard deductions for all filing states, making it a somewhat difficult decision. Many older taxpayers may find that their standard deduction plus the additional standard age deduction turns out to be greater than any itemized expenses they can claim, especially if their mortgages have been paid and they no longer have that itemized interest deduction. However, you could get a larger deduction for itemizing if you still have a mortgage and taking into account things like property taxes, medical bills, charitable donations, and any other deductible expenses you may have.

Your threshold for even having to file a tax return first is also higher if you're 65 or older, since the filing threshold is generally equal to the standard deduction you're entitled to apply for. Your Social Security benefits may or may not be taxable income - it depends on your total income. Add up your income from all sources, including retirement funds subject to taxes other than Social Security and what would normally be tax-exempt interest. Then add half of what you collected in Social Security benefits during the course of the tax year.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) must send you the form SSA-1099 approximately the first day of the new year, which indicates exactly how much you received. If you fall outside these income levels, up to 85% of what you collect in Social Security may be taxable. The IRS offers an interactive tool to help you determine if any of your Social Security members are taxable and, if so, how much. One of the most important tax exemptions available to older adults is the tax credit for the elderly and disabled. This tax credit can eliminate part, if not all, of your tax liability if you end up owing the IRS.

You must be 65 or older as of the last day of the tax year to qualify - that Jan. 1 rule also applies here, and you are considered to be 65 at the end of the tax year if you were born on the first day of the following year. Citizen or resident alien, but if you are a non-resident alien, you may qualify if you are married to an American. Many states exempt Social Security income from taxes, and some states don't tax income at all. The best states to retire for tax reasons are currently Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Once you turn 65, you'll automatically have a larger standard deduction - so be sure to take advantage of it if you're not itemizing deductions.

When you turn 70 and a half years old, you can also reduce your tax liability by donating some of your IRA distributions directly to a charity - this counts toward the required minimum distributions. Talk to your financial advisor about other ways to lower your taxes in retirement. Advance distributions are generally amounts distributed from your traditional IRA account or annuity before your 59-and-a-half age, or amounts you receive when you redeem retirement bonds before your 59-and-a-half age. You must include advance distributions of taxable amounts in your gross income - these taxable amounts are also subject to an additional 10% tax, unless the distribution qualifies for an exception. For more information about notification of the distribution and the ability to contribute back to the distribution, see Form 8915-F and its instructions. After you turn 59 and a half years old, you can receive distributions from your traditional IRA without having to pay the additional 10% tax. Most distributions you receive from your qualifying retirement plan and from unqualified annuity contracts before your 59-and-a-half age are subject to an additional 10% tax - this applies to the taxable part of the distribution. If income tax was withheld from your salary or if you qualify for a refundable credit (such as the earned income credit, the additional child tax credit, or the opportunity credit in the United States), you must file a return for a refund even if you are not required to file a return in another way.

The share of active participation in the plan before 1974 can be qualified as capital gain subject to a 20% tax rate. If you don't pay enough taxes through withholding, estimated tax payments or both - then you may be charged a penalty. The TAS can provide a variety of information for tax professionals including updates and guidelines on tax legislation, TAS programs and ways to inform TAS about systemic problems observed in practice. If still needing help - IRS TACs provide tax help when a problem can't be resolved online or by phone. However - if taxes withheld from pension (or other) income...

Leave a Comment

All fileds with * are required