We are in the midst of tax season with just about a month to go before the filing deadline. If you are a family caregiver in Grand Rapids, it’s important to be aware of laws that may affect your senior loved one’s taxes, as well as free tax resources available to seniors. Follow the advice below to help your loved one prepare for tax time and ensure that they file their return completely and correctly.
Does He or She Need to File?
Many seniors assume they don’t have to file, but that’s not always the case. Some portion of Social Security income may be taxable, especially if that’s not your elderly relative’s only source of income. A tax professional can help determine whether it’s necessary for your loved one to file.
Know About Credits
The primary tax credit that adults older than age 65 may be eligible for is the Elderly and Disabled Tax credit. Your loved one may qualify if he or she is permanently disabled or has a household income less than $17,500. You should also be aware of other implications of their situation; for example, are Social Security benefits taxable, and have they withdrawn money from a retirement fund.
Look Into Free Programs
Having a tax professional prepare his or her return is wise, since it will ensure that your family member’s taxes are done correctly. Several free programs exist in which IRS-certified volunteers help seniors prepare their returns, including the VITA program and the TCE program. Your local library is a great place to start, or you can check the list at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
Gather Necessary Paperwork
Most seniors will need to fill out form 1040 or 1040EZ, which are available online or at your local library. They’ll also need all official statements of income for the year as well as any paperwork needed for itemized deductions, such as medical bills.
While filing taxes can seem daunting, helping your family member stay organized throughout the year can make things much easier on you come tax time. If you live out of town or are unavailable, reach out to Grand Rapids senior care provider Home Care Assistance. One of our trusted caregivers can help your loved one gather the correct paperwork, pick up forms from the library, provide transportation to and from appointments, and stay on after tax time to continue assisting your loved one with other daily responsibilities. Speak with a friendly Care Manager at (616) 243-0835 and schedule a free consultation.