Tax season. These two words can bring a lot of anxiety and stress. It is a time of year that many of us dread. Tax season can be a difficult time, but it can be potentially more stressful for the senior in your life.
Seniors have additional factors such as retirement accounts, social security, and added medical expenses to include in their taxes. Your senior parent or loved one needs help, but where do you start?
Oaks Senior Living, with assisted living communities throughout Georgia, knows that this process is important, as well as daunting. We want to assist you in navigating through this tax season with the senior in your life.
Detailed Record Keeping
This is a vital first step to the tax filing process. If your parent or loved one does not keep detailed records, start here, and get organized. Any documentation of money coming in or out needs to be accounted for, even though you may not end up needing it to file. You will be grateful to have records and not need them versus needing the documentation and it not being readily available.
Finances and personal medical information are touchy subjects. Let your loved one know and assure him or her that you understand this and need access to these files to help them. You can help by organizing their current documents and continuing to assist him or her on a regular basis.
If all paperwork and documentation are organized and in one place, filing your parent or loved one’s taxes will likely go a lot smoother!
Understand Who Needs to File
It is possible that your parent or senior loved one does not have to file a tax return. According to the IRS:
- If the filing status is single, and at the end of 2019, the person filing was 65 years or older, the gross income must be at least $13,850 to file a return
- If the filing status is married, and at the end of 2019 both spouses [filing together] were 65 years or older, their gross income must be at least $27,000 to file a return
However, if there is any question of whether or not your senior parent or loved one is required to file, the IRS offers an aid (Do I Need to File a Tax Return?) on their website that will assist you in determining if he or she needs to file a tax return.
Research Possible Exemptions and Deductions
If your parent or loved one is required to file a tax return, he or she may more than likely qualify for certain exemptions and deductions. It is important to note that these exemptions and deductions have very specific requirements. If your loved one qualifies for a certain exemption one year, he or she may not be eligible the next year. Do the proper research each year to learn which exemptions and deductions your loved one may qualify for.
Get Professional Advice
You can conduct as much research as possible, but consulting a professional is always a good idea. These professionals know the ins and outs of filing taxes and are up-to-date on the most recent changes in requirements and possible exemptions and deductions.
Professional accountants or tax advisors can tell you exactly what documentation you and your senior loved one will need and verify all possible exemptions and deductions that your loved one qualifies for. Additionally, he or she can assist you in setting up the tax return.
Seeking professional advice and assistance is something that many of us tend to avoid. However, professional help can alleviate some of the stress that tax season brings and provide peace of mind in knowing that your parent or loved one’s return is done correctly with every possible deduction accounted for.
Tax filing for seniors may not be the most fun activity, but helping your loved one file his or her tax return can help him or her significantly.
Oaks Senior Living is here to help you care for your loved one in other ways as well. Visit one of our communities throughout Georgia to learn more about the support we provide you and the senior in your life. Or, visit our Facebook page to view photos, stories, events, and more, from our communities!