What Adults 65+ Need to Know About Taxes

This tax guide will teach you how to save money and get big returns this, and any tax season. Whether you’re retired or still working, here’s what you need to know about filing taxes after 65.

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. Additionally, the form spaces out characters and uses contrasting colors to allow the words stand out on the page.

Who can use the form?

If you’re 65 or older as of January 1, 2021, you can use this new form to file your returns for tax year 2020. 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, 2021, to use form 1040 SR.

Special Deductions and Instructions

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. Adults 65+ who don’t itemize their deductions are typically eligible for a higher standard deduction.

You qualify for a standard deduction if you’re at least 65 years old and a single filer, or part of a married couple filing jointly and you or your spouse are 65 or older as of January 1, 2021. An even higher standard deduction amount can be claimed if you or your spouse are at least partially blind.

You can find instructions on how to claim your standard deduction 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 your taxable amount. Not all Social Security benefits are taxed – it depends 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 qualify for additional credits from the IRS if you’re over 65 and meet other criteria, but you have to file using either Form 1040 or Form 1040A. You can find the requirements needed 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. Using a professional tax filing service will help you save the most money or allow you to receive a bigger tax return – but it costs money.

Fortunately, the IRS sponsors volunteer tax assistance programs for adults over 60. To find free tax filing assistance, visit the IRS website. And if you have questions that are not addressed here, we recommend seeking advice from a licensed tax professional.

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