Piggy bank with coins.

3 Considerations for Seniors this Tax Season

by Michael Wendel, Administrative Specialist

Calculator and coinsMany seniors are not required to file a tax return due to their income status. Yet, seniors can still be eligible for Michigan tax credits, such as the Homestead Property Tax Credit or the Home Heating Credit, which can be filed separately from a tax return. By not filing for these credits, seniors could be missing out on these and other assistance credits, which otherwise could help reduce their financial burden. Below are three reasons that you as a senior might want to file a tax return or for Michigan tax credits.

  1. You could be missing out on possible assistance credits. 
    • Many seniors are not required to file a tax return, but can still be eligible for other tax credits that are able to be filed separately. Many seniors who either own their home or rent their home are eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Credit (Form MI-1040CR). The Homestead Property Tax Credit requires having an income of $50,000 or less and a taxable home value of $135,000 or less.  This credit could return up to $1,200 dollars to you. Other assistance available for low income families is the Home Heating Credit (Form MI-1040CR-7), which can assist in paying home heating costs. Income limitations apply for the Home Heating Credit: a household of one is limited to $12,956 or less in income and for a family of 2 is limited to income of $17,528 or less.
  2. Depending on income you could qualify for a poverty exemption on property taxes.
    • While most do not qualify for this exemption, those with lower incomes could qualify for this important program through their local Assessor’s Office. Many Assessors require that you provide a copy of your previous year’s Homestead Property Tax Credit form to determine eligibility. Income requirements can vary, so contact your local Assessor’s Office for more details.
  3. If you are still working, you could be missing out on a return.
    • Many seniors fall below the income threshold for needing to file a tax return. If you earn income outside of Social Security, it could be beneficial to discuss your filing status with a tax professional to ensure that a tax return is not due to be filed.

Depending on your income, you could qualify for assistance in applying for these credits and/or completing your tax returns. AARP provides a database of Tax-Aide Sites throughout Michigan, click here to visit the AARP site. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify, click here to find a provider near you. If you have questions regarding your taxes, whether you should file a tax return, or if you should apply for a tax credit, it is best to consult with a tax professional.

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