Senior Resources for Filing Taxes
Tax filing is stressful. There’s so much to think about when filing, it can be difficult to remember everything you need. Receiving the highest maximum refund possible is important, though some may feel unequipped or overwhelmed by the task. While filing taxes can be stressful for every individual, it can be even more cumbersome for senior citizens. Filing taxes for senior citizens is especially difficult due to multiple special tax considerations, such as pension income and social security benefits. Sometimes, these can’t be answered with boxed tax software or tax preparation websites causing seniors to miss deductions, improperly report income, or fail to file taxes when required
Complications for seniors filing taxes include:
- Social Security income
- Pension checks, public or private
- Stocks or bonds
- Retirement benefits
- Spousal death
- Disability or other government assistance
Failure to file correctly not only complicates taxes but can also increase the chances of an incorrect return. Many seniors are afraid of leaving money on the table when filing their taxes, which is something many cannot afford to do. There are a number of exemptions, benefits, and credits that help seniors receive higher returns, making it important to use a professional tax service.
Know Where to Turn for Help
Seeking tax advice and assistance can make things easier and much less stressful for seniors and their families. The two largest providers of senior citizen tax help are local senior community centers and AARP. Senior community centers frequently provide low-cost or no-cost tax preparation for seniors while others may help you find your own tax professional.
Each year during tax season the AARP partners with the IRS in order to provide Tax Aide, which is a free service providing tax help for low and middle-income senior citizens. Additionally, AARP helps members with estate planning and offers advice on reducing future tax liability. Many times these organizations provide tax preparation professionals who are experienced in working with the aging population. Their familiarity with retirement planning will help reduce stress and help you plan for the future.
Look Around Your Community
While AARP is a beneficial service for middle and low-income seniors specifically, there are still seniors who may not qualify for the AARP services and still need assistance. In this case, many local communities and area agencies are designed to help seniors with all aspects of living, including taxes. There are also many local tax agencies that offer free help to seniors, try a quick Internet search for agencies in your area.
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging has been known to help seniors find the nearest agency for tax assistance. Local colleges frequently offer legal and accounting programs that may provide free services around tax time for senior citizens. Typically these services are free of charge since they are good practice for students to volunteer as they study tax and law.
When looking to file taxes, it’s important to remember senior citizens have endless options. There are many senior community programs that do a good job catering to the needs of the elderly. Seniors shouldn’t feel as if they’re alone in the process of filing their taxes. There are online and community programs that can take care of you when you need it most.
About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.