The Bottom Line About Income Tax Breaks for Seniors

Income tax breaks for seniors are a big factor in choosing where to retire comfortably. Discover the rules and guidelines to save money and be smart on income tax breaks for senior citizens.

Older adults and newly retired people want to understand Income tax breaks for seniors. It’s possible that you can take advantage of tax breaks and savings. If you are over 65 years old, the U.S. tax code offers a special tax break for people who are 65 or beyond.

In this article, we’ll look into how much income is tax-free for senior citizens, how tax breaks work, and how to qualify for income tax breaks.

senior woman finding ways to decrease taxes on her tablet

What are Income Tax Breaks for Seniors?

The United States Tax Code offers tax breaks for older adults, with the income tax age limit for senior citizens beginning from 65. These tax breaks include:

  • A special tax credit for those 65 and up
  • A larger standard deduction if you are 65 or older
  • A higher filing threshold and tax credit
  • Social security may be considered taxable, depending on overall earning

The IRS has a higher threshold for filing in the first place. Generally, when you are over 65, the filing threshold equals the standard deduction you can claim.

Here are a couple of details to know:

For single taxpayers, if you are over 65, the deduction threshold goes up from $1,750 to $14,700. If you file a joint return, you can jointly earn up to $27,300 if you or your spouse is 65 or older. If you are both 65 or older, your deduction could be $27,800.

senior lady figuring out how tax breaks work

How Do Income Tax Breaks Work

Let’s explore the benefits of turning 65 in terms of Income tax breaks for seniors.

Larger Standard Deduction

You won’t have to pay as much on your taxes because you can qualify for an additional deduction.

If you’ve turned 65 by January 1, this qualifies you for an additional deduction. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows you to begin taking an additional deduction at this time. For example, in the tax year 2022, if you are unmarried and not a surviving spouse, you can add an extra $1750 to the standard deduction. If you are married and filing jointly, you can add a $1400 deduction.

In the tax year 2023, these deductions will increase to $1850 and $1500 respectively.

Standard or Itemized Deductions

As described above, depending on your income, you may find that with the extra deduction for age, you could claim more than you would by itemizing. This may be the case if your mortgage is paid off.

On the other hand, if you still have a mortgage, you may have more deductions, especially considering property taxes, medical bills, and other deductible expenses.

Talk with your accountant to determine what is best for your situation.

Higher Tax Filing Threshold

As described above, if you are 65 or older, there is a higher threshold for which you have to file taxes. Talk with your accountant and determine whether this means you need to file taxes this year.

Social Security As Taxable Income

A lot of people want to know how much income is tax free for senior citizens. A big question is whether your social security benefits are considered taxable.

The answer depends on overall earnings.

The simple way to determine this is to add up your income from all sources other than Social Security. Then, add half of what you collected in Social Security benefits in the tax year.

According to the IRS, If the total of all your income plus half of your social security is less than $25,000 and you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow/widower, you don’t have to include Social Security as taxable income. If you are filing a joint return and married, this increases to $32,000.

As an individual, if you earn more than $32,000, up to 85% of what you collect on Social Security might be taxable. If you earn $44,000 as a married, joint filer, up to 85% of what you get in Social Security might be taxable.

senior couple happy with their options for tax breaks

How to Qualify for Income Tax Breaks for Senior Citizens

To understand how much income is tax free for senior citizens, it helps to use interactive tools. The IRS offers an interactive tool that can help you figure out whether your Social Security is taxable, as well as how much might be taxable.

The good news? According to the IRS website, it only takes 9 minutes to complete the questions asked with the interactive tool. If you are still wondering how much income is tax free for senior citizens, using this tool may help you get general information. For specific information about your taxes, be sure to get professional expert advice.

How to File Income Tax for Senior Citizens

Talk to your accountant and professional advisor about tax deductions for senior citizens.

Once you turn 65, you may want to talk with a financial advisor about ways to lower your taxes during your retirement. If you’re curious about how to file income tax for senior citizens, your accountant may have insights that can help you reduce your tax liability.

Senior Income Tax Breaks per State

Different states have unique approaches for seniors. Thirty states exempt all Social Security benefits from taxation. These include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Additionally, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming as of 2021 have no state income tax at all. New Hampshire taxes only on interest and dividends and not Social Security income.

In addition to state taxation on Social Security, if you own property, look into state-specific rules for property tax breaks for seniors. These vary from state to state and are typically found on a state website.

you evaluate where to retire, be sure to talk with a financial advisor. Many states offer provisions exclusions and exemptions for the taxation of social security benefits. If you are considering moving or staying in your current state, get tax advice for senior citizens.


Which states offer retirees the best tax breaks?

Many states don’t tax income at all. Some states do not tax Social Security income. For tax reasons, the best states to retire from may include Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Alabama, Hawaii, and Illinois exempt nearly all retirement income. Only Mississippi and Pennsylvania except for all retirement income.

Do you have to pay income tax after 70 years old?

Generally, a portion of your income is nontaxable such as income from Social Security, disability, annuities, and pensions. However, if you make more than the limits, you may still need to pay some taxes after age 70. Talk with your accountant to determine the details of your specific situation.

Get Relief With Income Tax Breaks For Seniors

Here at the Senior Assistance Club, we encourage you to explore your state regulations and get the relief you are entitled to on property taxes.