Posted by: wrcseniorservices | February 1, 2013

Tax Help for Seniors

Well it’s that time of the year again. Tax season. Everyone collectively sigh in disgust. But good news! This blog is going to share some tips for seniors to help you save on your taxes. Everyone collectively cheer and imagine balloons and confetti. 🙂

Pennsylvania’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate.  Whether you are a homeowner or renter, you can get up to a $650 standard rebate.  To be eligible, you must be age 65 or older; a widower or widow age 50 or older; or a person with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 annually for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. Note, when calculating your income, you can exclude half of your Social Security income, Supplemental Security Income and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits. The deadline to apply for your rebate for 2012 property tax or rent is June 30, 2013. Rebates are mailed out starting July 1. To file, download the form or call 1-800-362-2050 to order a form. If you have filed for the rebate before, you should automatically receive the form in the mail.

Standard Deduction – if you were born before January 2, 1948, you will qualify for an additional standard deduction for 2012 of $1,150 or $1,450 if single or head of household. If you are blind or partially blind, the deduction is even higher. You’ll have to file with IRS Form 1040 or 1040A to claim.

Medical and Dental Expenses – for many seniors on a fixed income, medical expenses can easily exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. In that case, completing an itemized deduction makes more sense. Nursing home care, home care, assisted living or personal care, insurance premiums, transportation expenses for medical care, co-pays, medications, long term care insurance, wheelchairs, dentures, hearing aids and eyeglasses are all deductible. Click here for a complete list and directions for filing.

CalculatorCredit for the Elderly or Disabled – to qualify for this tax credit, you and/or your spouse have to be 65 or older and have an adjusted gross income limit of approximately $17,500 if single or $25,000 if married.  The maximum amount for this credit in 2012 is $1,125. Use Schedule R to calculate how much your credit will be.

Sold your house in 2012? If you  lived in your house two of the last five years, the profit you make for the sale (up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for married) is not taxable. Here’s more about capital gains.

Free tax preparation Need help filing your taxes? Call your local Area Agency on Aging. Most have volunteers who will prepare and e-file your taxes for free. Some restrictions may apply. Here are our local AAA numbers:
Jefferson County   814-849-3096
Clarion County  814-226-4640
Elk County  814-776-2191
Clearfield County 814-765-2696.

If you are the caregiver of an elderly loved one, there are also ways you can save! Did you know you can list an elderly loved one as a dependent on your tax return and then deduct costs you pay for their medical or long term care? For more information, check out this blog from TurboTax or even more detailed info from the IRS.

Know of a tax tip, we didn’t mention here? Please comment and share!

– Dawn Wise
WRC Senior Services
dwise@wrc.org

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