Personal income tax return season has begun. Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy and Ohio Tax Commissioner Jeff McClain offer some tips and reminders for older Ohioans.
Some benefits that older Ohioans receive are not taxed in Ohio. These include Social Security benefits, railroad retirement benefits, and military retirement benefits. Taxpayers should deduct any of these amounts included in their federal adjusted gross income.
Taxpayers may be able to deduct a portion of their unreimbursed medical and health care expenses. This includes premiums for supplemental health insurance.
There are also some tax credits that older Ohioans may be entitled to. If you are age 65 or older, you may qualify for a senior citizens credit. If you have more than $500 in retirement income, you may qualify for a retirement income credit.
Free or low-cost tax preparation help for seniors is available from trained tax advisors. Contact your area agency on aging to learn about resources in your community. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
The Ohio Department of Taxation website contains information for taxpayers, including answers to frequently asked questions. Call the department’s taxpayer services helpline at 1-800-282-1780 for personalized assistance.
Avoid tax fraud and scams
The Ohio Department of Aging is joining the Federal Trade Commission in observing February 3-7 as National Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. Similarly, scammers may call older Ohioans and pretend they are calling from the IRS and demand payment of bogus fees or penalties.
Tips to avoid tax scams and identity theft:
- Protect your Social Security Number. Don’t give it out unless there’s a good reason and you know who you are giving it to.
- File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can.
- Use a secure internet connection to file electronically or mail your paper tax return directly from the post office.
- Research your tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
- Remember, any real contact from the IRS will start with a letter in the mail, not a phone call, email, or text message. Also, the IRS will never ask for specific forms of payment, such as pre-paid gift or debit cards.
- Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.