Retirees: Are You Taking Advantage of Tax Provisions Hidden in Plain Sight?

Embarking on the journey of retirement signifies a well-deserved break after decades of dedication and toil. Yet, this phase also introduces a unique set of financial intricacies, particularly in the realm of taxation. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has numerous guidelines tailored for retirees, a few remain shrouded in mystery. You may be surprised to learn that there are a number of IRS rules that can benefit retirees:

 #1 Standard Deduction for Seniors:

If you or your spouse are 65 years or older and don’t itemize deductions, you may qualify for a higher standard deduction. This can reduce your taxable income, potentially moving you into a lower tax bracket.

#2 Tax Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

This often-overlooked tax credit is available to those who are 65 or older or those who are permanently and totally disabled. There are income limits to qualify, but meeting the criteria can provide a valuable reduction in your tax liability.

#3 No Penalty on Withdrawals:

Withdrawing money from a 401(k) or IRA before age 59½ incurs a 10% penalty. However, once you reach 59½, you can withdraw without facing this penalty.

#4 Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Once you turn 72, you must start taking RMDs from your traditional IRA and 401(k) accounts. However, the first RMD can be delayed until April 1 of the year after you turn 72. Taking these distributions is essential. For 2024 and subsequent years, IRA owners and beneficiaries are subject to a 25 percent excess accumulation penalty tax on amounts not taken. The penalty tax may be reduced or waived altogether in certain circumstances.

#5 Roth IRA Benefits

Roth IRAs offer significant advantages for retirees. Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs do not have RMDs, allowing your investments to grow tax-free for as long as you live. Additionally, qualified distributions from a Roth IRA are tax-free.

# 6 Selling Your Home Tax-Free

If you’ve lived in your primary residence for at least two of the past five years, you may be able to exempt up to $250,000 from your gain from selling your home. This can be a significant tax-saving opportunity for retirees looking to downsize.

#7 Medical Expense Deduction:

Depending on your adjusted gross income, you may be able to deduct medical expenses up to 7.5% from your income. This can include many expenses, from prescription medications to long-term care insurance premiums.

#8 Charitable Distributions

IRA holders who are at least 70½ can contribute up to $100,000 a year directly to charities. This counts towards your RMD and isn’t included in your taxable income, offering a win-win for both you and the charity.

#9 Tax Breaks for Investing in Bonds:

Some retirees invest in municipal bonds for a steady income. The interest from these bonds is generally tax-free on your federal return, and if the bonds are from your state, the interest might also be tax-free on your state return.

#10 Social Security Taxation

Depending on your combined income, up to 85% of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. However, there are strategies to reduce or even eliminate this tax, such as managing your other income sources or considering Roth conversions.

While retirement brings about a new set of financial considerations, the IRS offers several provisions to ease the tax burden on retirees. Retirees can make the most of their golden years by being aware of these lesser-known benefits and consulting with a tax professional.

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