We all know this time of year well. Either get excited for a return or dread liability for more taxes. When gross income is greater than your exemption amount plus the standard deduction, chances are you will end up owing the government money. If you receive some Social Security benefits, you may think you are rid of this arduous process but no such luck!

History of Social Security Taxation

The good news is that households of the non-elderly pay almost double the taxes of the elderly, so you may not have to pay as much as expected. The government gives preferential treatment to those who saved for retirement, and Social Security income is taxed differently. If Social Security is your only income, you may even be able to stop filing taxes! For the first 50 years of the program’s existence, it was not taxed at all; however, due to decreased incomes and increased reliance on the program in the 1980’s, Social Security benefits started getting taxed.

Potential Taxable Income

While you may be retired, there are other forms of income you receive. Traditional IRA and 401(k) accounts are taxable and count as income. Roth IRAs are slightly different, and withdrawals cannot be taxed if you retire past the age of 60. Past the age of 70, you also do not have to take Requires Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your Roth. Additionally, stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investments can be taxed up to 15% depending on your tax bracket. This is why many financial advisors recommend using up taxable accounts, then tax-deferred retirement accounts, and finally Roth IRAs.

When You Must File Taxes

If you are over the age of 65 and live alone without any dependents on an income of more than $11, 850, you must file an income tax return. If part of your income comes from Social Security, you do not need to include this in the gross amount. If you are married and both are over 65-years-old, your combined income cannot exceed $23,100 if you plan to stop filing taxes. If your spouse is younger than you (and younger than 65), this amount decreases to $21,850. Remember – do not include Social Security in your gross income! This will drastically alter your income amount.

When You Can Stop Filing Taxes

If your income comes solely from Social Security benefits, you can stop filing taxes. This is because taxed income does not include the benefits. Therefore, your gross income is technically $0 without Social Security. This can seem confusing, so follow the directions on the 1040 and 1040A forms, which help to calculate the taxable amount of Social Security benefits. Just because you are exempt from federal taxes, does not mean you are also exempt from state taxes, so be sure to check with a state representative for specific rules and regulations to follow.

Always consult an IRS representative or a local financial consultant if you have any questions about your situation. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all stop filing taxes?

Written and updated in 2020 by: Diana Michel

37 responses to “When Can Seniors Stop Filing Taxes?

  1. My father is 93 and has vascular dementia he lives in a memory care unit with hospice assistance,
    his ss and pension combined comes to 38,000 his cost for the facility annually is 48,000 does he need to continue filing taxes?

  2. My sister is 74. Her income is around $500.00 per month retirement and $500.00 per month from Social Security and pays additional monthly for Medicare. I prepare her taxes each year which always ends with a $0 balance. Does she have to continue filing?

  3. Have a male friend 65 years old retired, income is Social Security and Disability check from VA, also has young female living with him in house that turn one of his room in her office, is he required to file, not a comment but a question.

  4. I collect ss. And received 4700. From pension. Do I have to file a return? I’m 67. Ss benefit is only
    13188. A year

  5. My mother is 101 years old.
    Is there an age cut off time when a senior does not have to pay taxes?

  6. I heard that after 80 you don’t have to pay income tax anymore regardless of your yearly income, I am 86, have annuity and SS.

  7. my sister passed away at age 87 she received social security of 900.00 and had about 70000.00 in stocks will i have to file taxes for her

  8. how do I get an answer to the questions that are posted? Reply is under the question, but I cannot get a reply.

  9. I feel Seniors over 65 should not file taxes, it’s disgraceful . I am not privy to the same deductions that the working person has so every year I wind up owing what I definitely can’t afford to pay. And yet there are
    millionaires and billionaires that pay nothing . Right now I am bedridden my rent is $2000 a month and I have to buy my medical supplies . All of this out of $30,000 a year. It may look like s lot but it’s not. I forgot I also pay $5000. a year for Medicare
    because it’s definitely Not “free” !!!!
    What’s a Senior to do ??????

  10. I will be 70 years old in March and a widow. I receive a $1300.00 pension and $1494.00 a month from Social Security and I would like to know what age I will be able to stop filing taxes because it is hard on me.

  11. I am 80 years old with monthly social security income of approximately 1600 minus taxes. I am single, have a home mortgage and two outstanding loans, monthly gas, electric, phone bills.

  12. I’m 69 and receive 19,000 in social security and less than 5k in a small Pension.Do I need to file a tax return

  13. My mom is 84 single divorced. Her income is not more than $1300 a month approximately half of that is SS. She is still paying mortgage and monthly bills. Is she required to file? She retired at 55 and income has been around the same maybe a little less. When could she stop filing taxes with such a low income?

  14. I’m a widow 72 years old. I have no current dependents but have my mortgage interest and medical deductions. I receive my own Social Security benefits and as an employee of a School District for over 23 years receive full retirement pension via the State. I was told that I did not have to list my SS Benefits as part of my gross income on filing my taxes. Just my School Retirement pension. Is that correct?

  15. My mother is 88 years old. she is living off of SS and investments. Does she have to pay taxes?

  16. I am a 73 year old widow, I collect SS and a annuity which totals 50k+per year, do I need to pay taxes on all if this income?

  17. I will be 70 in October. Do I have to pay federal income taxes.

  18. I do make from my husband’s pension and Social Security together around 55,000 a year but think that I pay way too much income tax on that amount of money Compared to what these big companies pay if any I am over 80 years old And widowed live alone and have to pay eight to $10,000 in state and federal income tax a year and then at the end of the year if I don’t pay money during the year I have to pay a late charge of 150 more dollars I do not think this is fair when millionaires and billionaires get away with paying nothing something is really wrong with this picture and needs to be looked into !!

  19. My mother is 96 with severe dementia. Does she have to pay income tax?

  20. I am 76…widowed… I receive 860.00 monthly from husbands S.S….. I am employed … contract labor
    What is total income limit befor I pay taxes, on SS recieved…where may I find a scale…

  21. I am 73 my husband is 75 with lots of medical problems, which insurance covers. we receive rail road retirement as our only income. what income and bracket and age can we stop paying income taxes,

  22. I am 72, single woman that has been getting all the money I pay into federal and state back in my refunds. My tax preparer said that she just puts down on the tax forms for state and federal is covered
    by medical. So, I should just call where worked and tell them not to take taxes out of my pay check.

    With SS and work I make $31,528,00

    Are there any forms I have to fill out for them?

  23. I’m 67 and I work for a nanny agency, I only made 22,000 for 2018, do I have to file taxes, I’m so confused I was told after you turn 67 you didn’t have to pay taxes anymore. Please help

  24. I am going to be 72 this year I am a widow All I Have is my SS which is 22,000Do I still have to file ?

  25. my mother is 74 years old does she have tp file taes

  26. I’m 86 yrs old my husband is 89 , I received a pension of $2500 a month and my husband receives social security, $1300 a month. We. Have no dependents, but many medical bills. Can we stop filing social security? Please do not POST but please reply.

  27. I am 75 yrs old, divorced, collect social security and a pension. I am having health issues and cannot get around…All the AARP reps are filled up with appts…what do I do… I live alone and am scheduled for hip replacement next month.

  28. I’m 66 and retired in June . I also have a pension if $1200.00 a month . Do I have to claim my social security as income

  29. I am 81 and I reseve income from my husbands retirement which is tax exempt and a small social surcuity check and rent from my son which is 650. A month or 7,800 a year. Do I still have to file?

  30. Mom is single 89 years. Her pension $868.16. SS is $18,744. Does she still have to do income tax

  31. Im a senior, 75 years old on social security and have a part timejob which I made 19,000 last year` would i geta refund onthe 8% tax that

    my company widthdrew very month?

  32. Where can I find the answers to these questions?

    Thank you.

  33. My husband and I will be 80 on our next birthdays. We both receive S.S. and have his pension of about $1,200.00 per month. Our S.S. amounts to about $230.00 combined. We wonder what our status is. Thanks. I never worked outside the home. We still live on the family ranch have never received a wage. We do live in the ranch home but pay all utilities ourselves. Our income is his pension from a job he retired from after 31 yrs. He then worked at two other jobs for an additional 19 years. He worked on the ranch while working the above mentioned jobs. Our oldest son worked ith his Dad for over 2 yrs but now has his own ranch and works off his ranch at a full time job. .

  34. My husband and I both receive social security as part of our yearly income I also receive income from my insurance sales job we have deductions for interest on mortgage and I have deductions from insurance job we have been told we have no earned income so we will probably owe taxes next year is this correct if so should we just pay mortgage off and forget the deductions .

  35. When can you STOP paying income toxes???

    1. all we get is railroad retirement and bank retirement

  36. My husband and I both receive Social Security as a part of our yearly income. Does this article means that the only taxable income we both report is what we get from our retirement, not Social Security?

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