Tax season is here again – will you be helping to prepare taxes for an elderly loved one in your life? Senior home caregivers in Philadelphia often find themselves in the position of assisting with taxes, which can be a particularly stressful situation. Keeping track of one’s own taxes is difficult enough, but what about someone else’s taxes?
When in doubt, we recommend simply calling in a tax preparer. The IRS sponsors a service whereby seniors can get free assistance with preparing taxes. We are just offering a few tips on preparing a senior’s taxes, particularly in terms of deductions that are commonly overlooked.
1. Use forms 1040 or 1040A, rather than 1040EZ
For a senior to maximize the deductions they are allowed to claim, the form filed must be either a 1040 or a 1040A. The 1040EZ form lacks some deductions for seniors, including the basic Credit for the Elderly or Disabled that anyone over 65 who qualifies can claim.
2. Be particularly careful when calculating taxable Social Security benefits
According to the IRS, many of the most common mistakes when filing seniors’ taxes involve miscalculating taxable social security benefits. Both the 1040 and 1040A forms include a worksheet for doing these calculations, and they suggest double-checking all figures before proceeding. For more information and details, see IRS Publication 915.
3. Medical expenses can often be deducted
If a senior is spending more than 7.5% (10% after 2018) of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on medical expenses, those can usually be claimed on an itemized deduction. Health insurance premiums and long-term insurance premiums may be deductible as well.
4. When downsizing some of profits may be excluded from taxes
Many seniors sell their personal homes, specifically to move into smaller and more affordable homes, or into family members’ homes. In these cases, some of the profits from the sale could be excluded from income reporting, if the conditions are met.
If in doubt, you should seek advice from tax professionals and these suggestions are only meant to provide some helpful tips. We are one of Philadelphia’s trusted sources of compassionate in-home care, designed to maximize the freedom and independence of seniors while still providing help based on their individual situations. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the burdens of senior home care, or merely need a helping hand, contact us to talk about your situation!