Should I File Taxes If I Am Retired?

by Vicki A. Benge ; Updated July 27, 2017
A retired couple sitting at the breakfast table.

If you receive regular income, earned or unearned, you may have to file taxes throughout retirement. According to Internal Revenue Service regulations, whether you should file taxes if you are retired depends on several factors. These include your filing status, age, income level and sources of your income.

Filing Requirements

If you receive gross income, excluding Social Security, exceeding $3,950 you should look at the IRS tables on filing requirements. You can see if the combination of your filing status, age and income requires you to file. For example, if you were single at the end of 2014, age 65 or older and your income was $11,700 or more, you should file.

Social Security Recipients

Whether you file your income tax married jointly or married separately or under one of the other statuses also affects whether you should file. This is where income limits come into consideration. For example, if you receive Social Security benefits, the money may be taxable depending on whether you received other forms of income and how much. In 2014, if half your Social Security benefits when added to other income exceeds $25,000, then you are required to file taxes. If you file with your spouse, the threshold is increased to $32,000.

Other Sources of Income

If you receive distributions from a traditional IRA, you will need to include this in gross income. In addition, if you receive retirement benefits in the form of a pension or annuity that your employer fully funded, this is taxable income in the year received. Investment income from all sources should be considered. Earnings from interest-bearing accounts, dividends from stock and income from rental property are three examples.

Some Exclusions

Any benefits you receive through the Medicare program including hospital insurance and supplementary benefits are not taxable income. Public assistance in the form of cash or food is also non-taxable. Remember too when considering income that Veterans' benefits are excluded from taxation. Any further questions you have may be answered at one of the IRS's elderly tax counseling sites. Phone toll-free 1-888-227-7669 to locate the one nearest you. .

About the Author

Vicki A Benge began writing professionally in 1984 as a newspaper reporter. A small-business owner since 1999, Benge has worked as a licensed insurance agent and has more than 20 years experience in income tax preparation for businesses and individuals. Her business and finance articles can be found on the websites of "The Arizona Republic," "Houston Chronicle," The Motley Fool, "San Francisco Chronicle," and Zacks, among others.

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