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Personal Finance and Savings

2022 Taxes: Tips for seniors and retirees

The tax laws for retirees and those age 65 and older are different than those for other taxpayers. Take a look, so you’re ready.

When can I stop filing tax returns?

If you are younger than 65 years old, you must file a return if your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds the following amounts, based on your filing status.

  • Single: $12,950
  • Head of Household: $19,400
  • Married Filing Jointly: $25,900 – if one spouse is 65 or older5
  • Qualifying Surviving Spouse: $25,900
  • Married Filing Separately: $5 ($12,950 if spouse claims the standard deduction)

If you are 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $1,750 if you file Single or Head of Household. If you are Married Filing Jointly and you OR your spouse is 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $1,400. If both you and your spouse are 65 or older, you may increase your standard deduction by $2,800.

If you have $400 or more in self-employment income, you must file a tax return.

Do I need to include my Social Security on my taxes?

Social Security income could be taxable, when your income is above what is considered the base amount. Social Security doesn’t become taxable until your total income plus half of your benefits exceeds the base amount of $25,000, or $32,000 if you are filing a joint return. If you’re married and filing separate returns, you may have to include 85% of your benefits as part of your taxable income if you lived with your spouse at all during the year. However, no more than 85% of the total benefits you and your spouse receive are ever taxable.

Starting in January 2023, Social Security benefits will increase by 8.7%. Because Social Security is considered partially taxable income, the increase means you could pay higher taxes. Now is a good time to start planning for next year with your Tax Pro, so you will be prepared.

What is the current standard deduction for taxpayers 65 and older?

If you are 65 and older, the amounts are:

  • Single – $14,350.
  • Head of Household – $21,150.
  • Married Filing Jointly – $27,300 if one spouse is age 65 or older, $28,700 if both spouses are age 65 or older.
  • Qualifying Surviving Spouse – $27,300.
  • Married Filing Separately – $5 ($14,700 if spouse claims the standard deduction).

What tax credits do seniors receive?

Credit for Dependent Care: If you or your spouse are unable to care for yourself and need outside care while the other spouse is working, you may qualify for this credit. The credit is based on a percentage of your qualified expenses, up to $3,000 for one person and $6,000 for more than one person. The maximum credit for the care of one qualified person is $1,050. The maximum for two or more qualifying persons is $2,100. All taxpayers are eligible for this credit, regardless of their income.

Child Tax Credits: If you have a dependent child or children 16 and under, you may be able to claim the $2,000 Child Tax Credit for each child. You may also be eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit — this is a refundable credit that uses up to $1,500 per child of the unused credit. This may be used as part of your refund if you don’t use it to reduce your taxes to zero.

Important! The child must be a qualifying child by meeting the following tests:

  • Relationship Test – Your qualifying child must be your:
    • Child (son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child, or eligible foster child) or descendant (for example, grandchild or great grandchild).
    • Sibling, half sibling, stepsibling, or descendant (for example, nephew or niece).
  • Age Test – Your qualifying child must be under age 17.
  • Residency Test – Your qualifying child must have the same main home as you for more than half the year.
  • Support Test – The qualifying child must not provide more than half their own support.

Credit for Other Dependents: If you have a dependent who is not eligible for the Child Tax Credit such as a child 17 or older, you may be eligible for the credit for other dependents. This credit is for taxpayers with dependents who do not qualify for the child tax credits. The credit is a $500 per dependent, which is nonrefundable, meaning you can only take the amount you need to reduce your taxes to zero.

Seniors are eligible for any of the child tax credits if they have qualifying dependents and earned income.

What tax deductions do seniors receive?

You should know that your medical expenses might be tax deductible. The IRS allows you to deduct qualified unreimbursed medical care expenses that exceed 7.5% of your AGI. These deductions might include unreimbursed purchases for treatments, surgeries, preventative care, and visits to the doctor.

What retirement plan contribution benefits are there?

While not a tax credit, if you are 70 ½ and older, you may transfer directly from your IRA to a qualified charitable organization up to $100,000, tax free. It can satisfy the required minimum distribution.

Unfortunately, there is no deduction allowed for the loss in value in a 401(k) or IRA.

You must also start withdrawing from your traditional IRA when you reach age 72. If you are no longer working for the company that provided your retirement plan such as a 401(k), you must start withdrawing from these accounts at age 72 as well. There is no requirement to withdraw from your Roth IRA at any age.

Make sure you get all the credit for working hard your whole life. Have questions? You can reach out to a Jackson Hewitt Tax Pro any time of year. 

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