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Does My Aging Loved One Have to File a Tax Return?

By Rick Cohen, 10:57 pm on

With tax season upon us, it’s natural for those caring for elderly spouses or parents to wonder if they must file a tax return for their loved one. As a leading provider of home care in Milwaukee, we wanted to share some information about filing tax returns for older adults to help eliminate some of the confusion. Here’s how the filing process works.

Determining Income

Since income is the basis for whether or not an individual has to file an income tax return, it is important to understand how the IRS defines income. Income includes all the cash that a person receives from work in the form of salaries, wages, commissions, professional fees, or bonuses. It also includes distributions from an individual’s IRA and 401K. The same goes for rental income, interest income, and royalties.

Exceptions to this are certain distributions from Roth IRAs and designated Roth accounts. Also exempted are loans against the cash values of life insurance policies.

Single Senior Citizens 

Individuals over age 65 whose income is under $11,700 may not have to file an income tax. The same holds true if they live solely on Social Security benefits; in this case their income is considered zero. However, if the senior’s income is less than $11,700, they may still have to file an income tax return if:

  • They have more than $400 as interest income or from self-employed income;
  • The received more than $108.28 from a nonprofit that is exempted from withholding Social Security tax;
  • If they are employed and their employer has not withheld Social Security tax.

Married Senior Citizens

Married senior citizens filing joint income tax returns may not have to file if both are over age 65 and their joint income is less than $22,900. Couples where only one spouse is over age 65 may not have to file if their joint income is less than $21,700.

If you are caring for an elderly spouse or parent, it can also be helpful to seek help from a professional tax accountant in Milwaukee who can ensure that your loved one is filing correctly. He or she may also be able to provide you with eligible tax breaks for acting as the primary caregiver of your aging parent or loved one.

For more information about caring for a senior loved one or for respite services nearest you, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee today. We are a premier provider of senior home care, offering flexible hourly and live-in home care in Milwaukee, WI. Call us today at 414-964-8000 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.

When Do Seniors Have to File a Tax Return?