Filing taxes just got easier for people 65 or older

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This Feb. 13, 2019, photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns in Zelienople, Pa. The head of the IRS, overseeing the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax codes in three decades, says the average refund in this year’s tax-filing season, $2,833, worked out to be close to last year’s. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig told Congress Wednesday that an increase is urgently needed in the agency’s budget to modernize antiquated computer systems and protect taxpayers’ data. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a new year, and that means tax season is here. While there are still more than 100 days until taxes are due, many people like to get a head start.

This year, taxpayers who are 65 and older will have an easier experience filing taxes with a new form.

It was supposed to be in President Donald Trump’s tax reform law but didn’t make the cut. Instead in 2018, Congress directed the Internal Revenue Service to create the form.

The form is designed with larger print, changes some shading of boxes and is only two pages. It also includes social security and pension income, unlike the previous 1040-EZ.

The form is expected to be used for paper filings. The number of South Dakotans filing by paper went down 64 percent from 2010 to 2018.

The IRS estimates 2.5 million Americans will use the 1040-SR in 2020 for the 2019 tax year.

To be eligible, taxpayers have to have a 65th birthday any time during the tax year. The form doesn’t work if you want to itemize deductions, however, the new tax law increased the standard deduction. Taxpayers 65 and older also have an increased standard deduction.

You also don’t have to be retired.

The IRS offers free tax counseling as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Click here to locate Tax Counseling for the Elderly services. AARP also runs the Tax-Aide Program. Both services don’t have locations listed just yet. AARP said to check back in late January/early February.

If taxpayers want to file online, seven out of 10 taxpayers are eligible for the Free File program. The program goes largely unused across the country. Here’s why:

There are some instances where seniors may need to fill out another form, in addition to the 1040-SR.

Have additional income, such as unemployment compensation, prize or award money, gambling winnings. Have any deductions to claim, such as student loan interest deduction, self-employment tax, educator expenses. Schedule 1 (PDF)
Owe other taxes, such as self-employment tax, household employment taxes, additional tax on IRAs or other qualified retirement plans and tax-favored accounts, AMT, or need to make an excess advance premium tax credit repayment. Schedule 2 (PDF)
Can claim any credit that you didn’t claim on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, such as the foreign tax credit, education credits, general business credit. Have other payments, such as an amount paid with a request for an extension to file or excess social security tax withheld. Schedule 3 (PDF)

The IRS also reminds seniors that they can easily identify when a supposed IRS caller is a fake.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues involving bills or refunds.