Elderly Feed

New York City handed out more than $59 million in residential tax breaks to thousands of deceased individuals and corporations between fiscal years 2011 and 2017. The improper tax benefits were supposed to go as property tax exemptions for senior citizens, according to an audit by the New York City comptroller's office. Around $36 million in tax revenue was lost when the city granted more than 3,000 Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemptions (SCHE) to older property owners who had died, according to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. The same properties, Stringer said during a July 7 press conference announcing the audit findings,... Read more →


The United States of America tomorrow will celebrate 240 years since independence was declared. Here's wishing all my fellow Americans a safe and fun July 4, especially since our break from Britain was based in large part on the battle cry that "Taxation without representation is tyranny." But another important date arrived just a few days earlier. On July 1, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 70½. Judging by this cake's flames, this guy looks to be a bit older than 70½. That half birthday date is crucial because it means owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts like traditional IRAs... Read more →


The hubby and I have no children. We often, however, seem to find ourselves at places and events chock full of families. For the most part, that's OK. Although we're child-free, we get a kick out of kids in small doses. They often provide some chuckles. Or as in the case of the poor baby pictured below, literal out loud laughs. Sorry, kiddo, but peas are good for you. Really! Plus, it always helps to know that when we get in our car and head home, it's just the two of us! Families still rule: We're in the minority. Most... Read more →


How are those Thanksgiving leftovers holding up? While you might be sick of the excess turkey, dressing and countless side dishes, too many people face the opposite problem. They don't have enough to eat every day. Food pantries and soup kitchens get a lot of attention during the holidays, and that's good. But they welcome help throughout the year. And some are getting it from nontraditional sources. Many hunters and the organizations that support them have charitable offshoots through which game meat is donated to help feed the hungry. A volunteer serves game meat at soup kitchen. Click image to... Read more →


Life. It just keeps keeping on (if we're lucky!). For most of us, our day-to-day activities fall into a predictable routine. Sometimes, though, the daily route detours. That's what happened yesterday, as the hubby had an unexpected day off. So I took time off, too, to enjoy the down time with him ... not, as he jokingly -- I'm pretty sure he was joking! -- said, to make sure he didn't have too much fun! Click image to watch a video of Ferris Bueller's sage advice about enjoying a day off. And that meant that I didn't get around to... Read more →


Christmas Day has passed, but it's still the time for giving, both from purely philanthropic and tax perspectives. Just before wrapping up its lame duck session this month, Congress gave some older folks with certain retirement plans a way, again, to share their savings. Lawmakers finally approved for the 2014 tax year direct rollovers from individual retirement arrangements (accounts, or IRAs, to most of us) to qualified charities. This option was one of the more than 50 tax provisions that were renewed retroactively for this year as part of the extenders package. IRA owners age 70½ or older now have... Read more →


For the last few years, my mother has lived just up the road from me. So not only do I get to see her more often, I've also become well-acquainted with the issues that are important as we age Among the tax-related concerns of older folks is meeting the withdrawal requirements of traditional IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and similar workplace plans. Most folks who are 70½ or older -- we'll get back to those in this age group who aren't affected shortly -- must take payments from their individual retirement arrangements and similar saving vehicles... Read more →


I am a firm believer in the cliché adage truth that you're as young as you feel. Age is an artificial construct, devised by humans to set limits. I realize that sometimes age requirements are necessary -- driving, voting, drinking. Don't combine these dangerously! Personally, I don't celebrate birthdays. I don't hate them, but making a big deal of the day on which you just happened to appear screaming into (at?) the world seems silly. As a friend from Washington, D.C., (miss you, Maxine!) once said and I repeat often: Age only matters if you're wine or cheese. "Is the... Read more →


It's the Tuesday after the long Labor Day holiday weekend, so you knew it had to happen. Tuesday apparently was so jazzed about getting to start the work week, it did its best Monday impression, piling on early in this already shortened week. Specifically, while trying to catch up after three days off, I had to spend a couple of hours dealing with family issues. Before my friends and sympathetic readers freak out, not to worry. It wasn't an emergency, medical or otherwise. My mom just needed some help taking care of some stuff sooner rather than later. As other... Read more →


Almost 40 million people age 65 or older currently collect Social Security benefits. Vice President Joe Biden is one of them. The 71-year-old veep also is among those who pay income tax on at least some of their federal retirement benefits. Vice President Joe Biden meets with the original six "Rosie the Riveters" who worked in a shipyard during World War II. They, like the veep, are eligible for Social Security benefits. (Office of the Vice President photo.) That revelation was one of the things we learned with the release of the president's and vice president's 2013 tax returns. Barack... Read more →


Age and wisdom, it is said, triumphs over youth and enthusiasm. With every passing day, I hope that is true! My mom, the lovely lady in red, celebrating birthdays with her friends at her local Seniors Center. One thing, however, I do know about getting older. It offers some tax advantages not available to younger filers. Today's Daily Tax Tip actually is a look at four tax breaks just for us older folks. Don't feel left out. You'll get to join our august group one day! 1. Contribute more to retirement accounts As long as you're earning money, you can... Read more →


And so it has happened again. Another month arrives and I am totally unprepared. Regular readers of the ol' blog know I (try to) start each month with some tax-saving, tax-planning thoughts. But March arrived on a Saturday that I spent with my mom. And Sunday, March 2, was Oscars day ... and a Sunday, day of rest and all. That left Monday as the day to highlight some tax moves to make in March. By now you've figured out where this story is going. Today kind of slipped by me, too. But I realized it with just enough time... Read more →


I'm a sucker for Christmas. The food, the movies, decorating the tree and the mantel and, of course, the songs. I look forward to them for 11 months of the year. So if the seasonal time-honored trappings are so important to me, why does a novelty song make my holiday listening list? Because sometimes even the strictest traditionalist needs to get a little goofy. That's why this season's third Christmas Tax Tip Tune is Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I know, despite its upbeat tempo, it's a bit of a downer. But you can always opt instead for... Read more →


When I started working, a handful of companies still offered their workers a pension plan. I'm talking a real pension plan, one where the business alone set aside some money that you could collect each month after you retired. Back then, financial planners regularly referred to pensions as one leg of the three-legged retirement planning stool: pension payments, personal savings and Social Security benefits. Those three retirement components account for this week's By the Numbers figure. But retirement planning has gotten much more complicated in recent years. Two wobbly legs: We continue to hear about Social Security's financial troubles. Whether... Read more →


The ringleader of a South Florida identity theft ring that filed $11.7 million worth of fraudulent federal income tax refunds was sentenced last week to more than 26 years in prison and $1.9 million in restitution. At the sentencing of Alci Bonannee, 36, of Fort Lauderdale, federal prosecutors said the scheme was one of the biggest and most successful they've seen. It was so convincing, noted the trial judge, that the Internal Revenue Service approved some $4.5 million of the requested refunds. It also is a prime example of what federal proscutors called a tax fraud "epidemic" that is more... Read more →


Monday is April Fools' Day, but it's no joke for some septuagenarians. April 1 is the deadline for some folks age 70½ to take money out of their tax-deferred retirement accounts. You know these savings plans: traditional IRAs, traditional workplace 401(k)s and several popular self-employment retirement plans. Earnings in these retirement vehicles grow tax-deferred. But Uncle Sam won't wait for his cut of your nest egg forever. So when you turn 70½, you must start taking out some of your traditional IRA et al money. These withdrawals are known as required minimum distributions, or RMDs. And for some who hit... Read more →


Pardon me for detouring from strict tax topics, but an article in today's New York Times about widows in foreclosure floored me. Homeowners over age 50 are facing the loss of their homes at the fastest pace of any age group. Women are a big part of that statistical segment because, reports the paper, they tend to outlive their spouses and are unable to cope with cuts in their pensions, ballooning medical costs and the fine print on their mortgages. Elderly women walking by Michael Cohen via Flickr OK, I see not saving enough; that's a problem for every age... Read more →


Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia collect state sales tax on food. In Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, food sales are subject to local taxes. I understand that everyone eats, except for maybe the stray super model. That makes tacking a few cents onto a grocery bill an appetizing way for states and local governments to get much-needed money. But precisely because everyone must eat to live, taxing such a necessity just doesn't seem right to me. Food or not? Plus, the determination of what is "food" and what... Read more →


Once we're out of our teens, most of us don't look forward to getting older. But at tax time, being a taxpayer of a certain age does have its advantages. Filers age 65 or older get a bigger standard tax deduction amount simply by checking a box on Form 1040 or 1040A. A larger standard deduction amount also is available for taxpayers of any age who are legally blind. Again, all it takes is a quick tick of a box on their tax returns. Today's Daily Tax Tip looks at how qualifying taxpayers can get a standard deduction that could... Read more →


A couple of years ago -- Yikes! Has it been that long!? -- I asked in a post Are you ready for a Roth conversion? It looked at the elimination of the income limit on converting a traditional IRA to a Roth account. Back then, my fellow personal finance blogger and Twitter pal JoeTaxpayer. was among those who offered some answers to that question so I invited him to elaborate. He graciously agreed to write a guest post then and now he's updated it with 2011-2012 tax data. Today, I'd like to offer a look at what it would take... Read more →