What Seniors Need to Know About 2019 Taxes

Taxes may be inevitable, but they can be delayed. No matter if you’re retired or still working, here’s what you need to know about filing taxes after 65.

This tax guide will teach you how to save money and get big returns this tax season.

The Tax Filing Season: A Noteworthy Filing Extension

The coronavirus has shaken up the financial markets and people’s day-to-day lives. A not-so-wonderful American pastime is the income tax filing deadline, which for years has been every April 15. However, this year the deadline has been extended to July 15.

While anyone expecting a refund can still file on April 15, Americans now have the option to wait to file until the new deadline in July. If you wait until July 15, 2020, to file for 2019 income, you won’t have to pay any penalties or interest.

Over 65, and You Get a New Tax Form

Traditional tax forms use tiny print that’s a strain on the eyes. Fortunately, people over 65 can take advantage of a new tax filing form that’s much easier to read. This two-page form is called 1040 SR.

Unlike other tax forms, 1040 SR has a much larger font than traditional tax filing paperwork. In addition, there’s more space between characters and the form uses contrasting colors to make the words stand out on the page.

Who can use the form? If you’re 65 or older as of January 1, 2020, you can use this new form to file your returns for tax year 2019. If you’re a married and are filing jointly with your spouse, only one of you needs to be 65 or older on January 1, 2020, to use form 1040 SR.

Tax Guide for Adults 65+: Deductions and Instructions for 2019 Taxes

American adults age 65 and older can take advantage of several deductions when they file their taxes this year. Below, we’ll cover some of the most helpful deductions that’ll give you the most significant return.

A Higher Standard Deduction

Do you itemize your deductions? If not, you’re in luck this tax year. Adults 65+ who don’t itemize their deductions are eligible for a higher standard deduction for 2019’s taxes.

If you’re a single filer, or part of a married couple filing jointly, either you or your spouse must be 65 or older on January 1, 2020, to qualify. If you or your spouse are legally blind, you can take an even higher standard deduction amount when you file your taxes. You’ll find the instructions for how to get the higher standard deduction for adults 65+ on Form 1040 and Form 1040A.

Social Security Benefits

If you or your spouse are collecting Social Security, you’ll want to be mindful of how you calculate the taxable amount. Not all Social Security benefits are taxed, (depending on your income). If you’re filing as a single person, anything over $25,000 in income is taxed. For married couples filing jointly, anything over $32,000 is subject to tax. Below these amounts, you don’t have to pay income taxes on the benefits. IRS Forms 1040 and 1040A offer instructions on how to file taxes for Social Security benefits.

Additional Credits

You may be qualified for additional credits from the IRS if you’re over 65 and meet other qualifications. But you have to file using either Form 1040 or Form 1040A. You can find the different requirements you'll need for additional credit on the IRS website.

Free Tax Prep for Adults over 65

Filing taxes on your own when you don’t have experience in accounting can be overwhelming. Plus, you don’t know what you don’t know. You can miss deductions and credits you may be qualified for, and who wants to pay more to the government than they have to? To save the most money or get a bigger tax return, using a professional tax filing service is ideal. But it costs money.

Fortunately, those over 65 can save even more money on their taxes this year with free tax return preparation services. The IRS sponsors volunteer tax assistance programs for adults over 60. To find a free tax filing assistance, visit the IRS website. And if you have questions that are not addressed here, we reccomend seeking advice from a licensed tax professional.

Tax Guide Takeaway

Remember, you have three additional months to file without having to pay penalties or interest. For adults over 65, you can also take advantage of several deductions and credits to save on your taxes and get a bigger return. Keep this tax guide handy when you file.

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