By Alissa Sauer, Next Avenue Contributor
Tax filing time is quickly approaching (April 18, this year), so it’s a good time to offer a reminder about tax filing rules, tax deductions and tax credits specifically for people 65 and older. If you’re of that age, they just might help you save on taxes. A caveat: you may want to consult an accountant or tax attorney for tax issues relating to elder care.
1. Who Needs to File
Every unmarried person over 65 who had a gross income of at least $11,900 in 2016 is required to file an income tax return. Social Security benefits are not included in that gross income figure unless: you were either married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during 2016 or half of your net Social Security benefits plus other gross income and any tax-exempt interest exceeded $25,000 ($32,000 if you were married and filing jointly).
If you met either of those two exceptions, the taxable portion of your Social Security benefits is included in your gross income for determining whether you need to file a return. (To learn the rules on computing taxable Social Security benefits, read this Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “Tax Tip:” Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?)
If you lived only on Social Security in 2016, you won’t need to file a federal income tax return.
2. The Elderly or Disabled Tax Credit
Some taxpayers over age 65 qualify for the Tax Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, which ranges between $3,750 and $7,500. (Some people under 65 can claim this credit, too, if they met certain rules.)
To be eligible, you must file the…