Money & Policy

Maximize Tax Benefits For Older Adults

How to file for deductions and credits for you or someone else

Certain tax deductions and credits benefit older adults and people with disabilities.  If you are 65 or older or helping someone who is older than than 65 or disabled file taxes, here are three areas to keep in mind when tax season arrives.

Standard deduction for seniors

If you do not itemize your deductions, you can get a higher standard deduction amount if you and/or your spouse are 65 years old or older. You can get an even higher standard deduction amount if either you or your spouse is blind. (See Form 1040 and Form 1040A instructions.)

Taxable amount of Social Security benefits

When preparing your return, be especially careful when you calculate the taxable amount of your Social Security.  Use the Social Security benefits worksheet found in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and Form 1040A, and then double-check it before you fill out your tax return.

Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

You must file using Form 1040 or Form 1040A to receive the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled.  You cannot get the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled if you file using Form 1040EZ. Be sure to apply for the credit if you qualify. The credit is based on your age, filing status and income.

You may be able to take the credit if:

You and/or your spouse are either 65 years or older;or under age 65 years old and are permanently and totally disabled.


Your income on Form 1040 line 38 is less than $17,500, $20,000 (married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies), $25,000 (married filing jointly and both qualify), or $12,500 (married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year).


The non-taxable part of your Social Security or other nontaxable pensions, annuities or disability income is less than $5,000 (single, head of household, or qualifying widow/er with diependent child); $5,000 (married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies); $7,500 (married filing jointly and both qualify); or $3,750 (married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse the entire year).

Calculating the credit

Use Schedule R (Form 1040 or 1040A), Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, to figure the amount of the credit.   See the instructions for Schedule R (Forms 1040 or 1040A) if you want the IRS to figure this credit for you. Also see Publications 524 (Credit for the Elderly or Disabled); 554 (Tax Guide for Seniors); and.967 (The IRS WIll Figure Your Tax.)

Free IRS tax return preparation

IRS-sponsored volunteer tax assistance programs offer free tax help to seniors and to low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.


IRS Publication 524:Credit for the Elderly or Disabled
IRS Publication 554: Tax Guide for Seniors
IRS Publication 967: The IRS Will Figure your Tax

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