Helping you make the most out of your retirement

You've worked hard your adult life. Maybe you ran your own business, or raised a family. Now you're enjoying the rewards of a life well lived and all the benefits that come with it.

Just like my commitment to help businesses succeed in the marketplace, I want to make sure you're taking advantage of all the tax exemptions and services that can help make your retirement years more pleasant.

This webpage will help you navigate many of the tax laws and regulations of this state, and offers you a wealth of different resources related to seniors – everything from health to reporting elder abuse or Social Security and other types of financial fraud.

My hope is that you will find this page a go-to source for many of the questions you might have, which will give you some piece of mind.

As always, if you have more questions or concerns you can contact me.

Maximize your deductions and credits!

senior working out

Did you know that blowing out the candles on your 65th birthday can lead to tax advantages come April 15th? There are several ways you can save money on your state and federal taxes after you turn 65. Here's how you can put a little more green in your pocket:

California Additional Exemption Credits for Seniors

If you and/or your spouse are 65 years or older as of January 1, 2015, you qualify for additional exemption credits on your 2014 California tax return.

This means you can save between $106 and $212 on your 2014 California tax return just because you and/or your spouse were born before January 2, 1950. See the instructions for Form 540, available at www.ftb.ca.gov for more information on the additional exemption credits.

California Senior Head of Household Credit

You may also qualify for the Senior Head of Household Credit equal to 2 percent of your California taxable income, up to $1,272, if:

  • You are 65 or older as of January 1, 2015;
  • You made less than $67,520 in 2014; and
  • You qualified as a head of household in 2012 or 2013 by providing a household for a qualifying individual.

See the instructions for Form 540, available at www.ftb.ca.gov for more information on the Senior Head of Household Credit.

Federal Increased Standard Deduction for Seniors

seniors with grandchildren

Your savings don't end with your California return. You can also save on your federal tax return. If you and/or your spouse are 65 or older as of January 1, 2015, and you don't itemize your deductions, you can use the additional standard deduction for senior citizens on your 2014 tax return. For 2014, this means you can deduct between $1,200 and $2,400 more when you use the standard deduction on your tax return. Consult the instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040A, available at www.irs.gov, for more information on maximizing your standard deduction!

Federal Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

You may also be eligible for the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled just for being 65 if you make less than:

  • $17,500 if you use the single filing status on your return;
  • $20,000 if you are married and file jointly with your spouse but only one of you is 65 or over;
  • $25,000 if you are married and file jointly with your spouse and both of you are 65 or over; or
  • $12,500 if you are married but file separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year.

To qualify for the above credit, the non-taxable part of your Social Security or other nontaxable pensions, annuities or disability income must also be less than:

  • $5,000 if you use the single, head of household, or qualifying widow/or with dependent child status on your return;
  • $5,000 if you are married and file jointly with your spouse but only one of you is 65 or over;
  • $7,500 if you are married and file jointly with your spouse and both of you are 65 or over; or
  • $3,750 if you are married but file separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year.

You can calculate the amount of your credit yourself using Schedule R, or see the instructions for Schedule R if you want the IRS to figure this credit for you. See IRS Publication 524, available at www.irs.gov, for more information on this credit.

How to Claim your Additional Credits and Deductions

You can claim your additional California exemption credits on any version of the Form 540 that you want to use, but you can only use the standard long form 540 to claim the Senior Head of Household Credit. You will also need to file the longer Form 1040 or Form 1040A to use the additional federal standard deduction and/or claim the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled; you will not be able to use Form 1040EZ.

Get Help Preparing and Filing Your Return

Don't let fear about using the longer forms scare you away from these benefits! Have an IRS tax volunteer help you complete your return for free! The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are designed to assist taxpayers who are 60 and older with their tax returns, and the volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Most VITA and TCE sites even offer free, electronic filing. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ and enter your zip code, or call 1-800-906-9887.

Property Tax News to Know

Parcel Tax Exemptions for Your Property

senior home art

If you pay a parcel tax or special assessment, you may be eligible for an exemption. Parcel taxes are locally imposed special taxes approved by voters, which must be paid by a property owner. Most of your home's property tax bill is based upon its value, but parcel taxes are based on the characteristics of the parcel (e.g. the size of the home or lot).

To find out if you qualify for an exemption, call the district or agency that imposed the parcel tax or special assessment listed on your annual property tax bill.

Moving? Take your Home's Taxable Value With You

If you are 55 or older, selling your home and buying another of equal or lesser value, you may be eligible to transfer the taxable value on the home you sell to your new one, avoiding higher property taxes. See Exclusions from Reappraisal for more information.

If you sell or transfer property to your child or grandchild, he or she may be able to pay the property taxes currently being paid on the property, avoiding higher property taxes. See Exclusions from Reappraisal for details.

Contact your county assessor to find out if you are eligible to transfer your property's taxable value.

Disabled Veteran? You May Qualify for a Property Tax Exemption

Depending upon income, 100 percent disabled veterans or their unmarried surviving spouses may qualify for a property tax exemption of $124,932 to $187,399 on their principal residence.

To learn more, visit our disabled veterans' exemption webpage.

To apply for the Disabled Veterans' Exemption, contact your county assessor.

Is that tax free?

Certain medications, medical equipment may be tax free

If you purchase prescription medications or prescribed medical equipment like wheelchairs, eyeglasses, crutches, canes, and walkers, your purchases may not be subject to tax. Check out our Drug Stores publication for more.

senior with tablet

Online guide to senior services

Senior Services and Care

City of Los Angeles Department of Aging
http://aging.lacity.org/

Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services
http://css.lacounty.gov/

Department of Social Services
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/

California Department of Aging
www.aging.ca.gov

Eldercare
Eldercare.gov

Meals on Wheels Association of America
https://www.mowaa.org/

Social Security

Social Security Administration
http://www.ssa.gov/

In-Home/Senior Home Care

In-Home Supportive Services
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/pg1296.htm

Board and Care Homes (Residential Care Facilities for Elderly)
https://secure.dss.ca.gov/CareFacilitySearch/

California Department of Public Health
(Licensing and Certification of nursing homes)

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/LnC/Pages/LnC.aspx

Elder Abuse and Fraud

Office of the Inspector General Social Security Administration
Social Security Fraud

http://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse

California Department of Health Care Services
(In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Fraud)

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/individuals/Pages/StopIHSSFraud.aspx

California Office of the Attorney General
http://oag.ca.gov/bmfea/

The State Bar of California
http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/ElderAbuse.aspx

Department of Social Services
http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/PG1298.htm

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
http://da.co.la.ca.us/seniors/

Medi-Cal/Medicare Guidance

Alzheimer's Care

Alzheimer's Association
http://www.alz.org/

Alzheimer's Association (California Southland Chapter)
http://www.alz.org/socal/

Alzheimer's Foundation of America
http://www.alzfdn.org/

California Alzheimer's Disease Program (California Department of Public Health)
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/alzheimers/Pages/default.aspx

Memory and Aging Center University of Southern California
http://adrc.usc.edu/

California Alzheimer's Disease Centers
http://cadc.cdph.ca.gov/

Tax Resources

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State