For most, dealing with taxes can be an overwhelming venture. For seniors, it may prove to be even more intimidating, as many find themselves living day to day on a fixed income, which makes saving money at any given opportunity a paramount concern. Not to mention the added difficulties that often arise from life transitions that are typical during these years, such as retirement and relocating. Fortunately, there are a number of ways for seniors to save money on their income and property taxes each year.
According to their website, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has helped nearly 50 million taxpayers with their income tax preparation services. With more than 5,000 locations around the country, there is very likely an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service available to you. Volunteers are IRS-certified, which means that you would likely be getting assistance from someone with the experience and knowledge needed to accurately assess your income tax situation. A wonderful bonus is that taxpayers don't need to be a member of AARP in order to benefit from this service, which is free to those who qualify.
AARP even offers an extensive database of income tax information that can be found in their FAQ section online. This information is aimed at addressing situations and questions that may commonly affect the older population and is accessible year-round.
Another resource for those seeking tax counseling is the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. The IRS describes this program as one that helps taxpayers by "specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors." Volunteers are certified by the IRS and are often individuals who are retired and are now associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
There are many other individuals who work diligently to assist taxpayers with filing their income taxes, such as students at local universities and colleges. Many accounting programs offer students the opportunity to assist the public, which most often includes seniors and those who are considered low-income. These services are typically offered both as a means to obtain practice and to also be a positive force in the community.
Property taxes can also have a significant impact on one's income and can be a large cause of stress. Seeking out property tax assistance can prove to be especially important when new life decisions result in a move or the transfer of property, which may subsequently mean a raise in property taxes.
One way to ensure that you don't pay more than you need to for your property taxes is to seek out property tax exemptions, which are available from one county to the next. Specifically, seeking out those that work to benefit seniors can prove to be incredibly beneficial. For example, a property tax exemption aimed at disabled veterans is available in many states. The requirements and exemption amount varies from state to state, but can prove to be one of the most beneficial property tax exemptions. The first step would be to contact the county where your property is located to inquire about the details involved in such an exemption.
It's important to seek out the resources pursuant to the state where you own your home. For example, the State of California offers a property tax postponement program that may enable seniors to postpone payment of their property taxes of a primary residence. There are a number of similar programs available across the country, such as the property tax and rent rebate program in Pennsylvania. This program assists individuals who are 65 or older (or widows age 50 or older) who meet specific income requirements, with either property tax or rental assistance in the form of a rebate.
There are many other ways to save on property taxes as well. For example, there are some measures in place to keep seniors from dealing with a sudden increase in taxes that come from selling and buying property. There is a program in California that allows some taxpayers to retain their base property tax value by transferring it to their new property when they replace their residence, for example. There are certain age, value and county requirements, but once again, this type of program can prove to be extremely helpful during what can be an already stressful time in one's life, and there are many more like them available in each state that all seniors should seek to take advantage of.