To figure this out, the IRS offers a resource on their website called “Do I Need to File a Tax Return?” that asks a series of questions that will help you determine if you’re required to file, or if you should file because you’re due a refund. You can access this page at www.irs.gov/uac/Do-I-Need-to-File-a-Tax-Return%3F, or you can get help over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040.
Check your state: Even if you’re not required to file a federal tax return this year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also excused from filing state income taxes. Check on that with your state tax agency before concluding you’re entirely in the clear. For links to state and local tax agencies see taxadmin.org – click on “Links.”
Tax aide: If you do need to file a tax return this year, you can get help through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (or TCE) program. Sponsored by the IRS, TEC provides free tax preparation and counseling to middle and low income taxpayers, age 60 and older. Call 800-906-9887 to locate a service near you.
Also check with AARP, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at nearly 6,000 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP Tax-Aide site call 888-227-7669 or visit aarp.org/findtaxhelp.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.