Standard Deductions for Seniors

Seniors receive a more generous standard deduction than non-seniors.

Tax law generally applies to every income earner equally. However, senior citizens aged 65 and older do enjoy a few credits and deductions other taxpayers do not. This includes higher thresholds, some generous tax credits and deductions. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 554, "Tax Guide for Seniors," describes these issues and other issues of specific interests to senior taxpayers.

Income Threshold

Seniors have a higher income threshold than other taxpayers. As of 2012, single senior's income threshold for filing is $11,200 compared to $9,750 for a single taxpayer under 65 years of age. Individual retirement plans, annuities and pensions may also be tax exempt or partially exempt due to their specific arrangements.

Standard Deduction

The standard deduction for seniors depends on a senior's filing status. Can they be claimed by another, blindness, and age are just some of the factors that determine the standard deduction amount. Each year the standard deduction is indexed for inflation so it will be different from year-to-year. For seniors the standard deduction in 2012 was $5,950 for a single person and $11,900 for a joint return. The head of household standard deduction was $8,700.

Tax Credits for the Elderly

There also a number of tax credits available to senior that can reduce their tax exposure. Medical expenses, transportation to and from medical care, meals and lodging for medical care are all deductible. At age 65 and older you receive a tax credit for the elderly and disabled. You can also receive deductions for premiums such as long-term medical care.

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