It’s that time of the year again to start thinking of filing tax returns. AARP will once again be at the Westerly Senior Center assisting Westerly area residents with tax returns, with the emphasis on low income taxpayers. The tax aides will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting Friday, Feb. 2, on a “first-come first-served” basis. There are no appointments. Please be aware that the first few weeks are very busy, and the tax preparers can physically and mentally do only so many returns a day. You may be asked to return if the limit that they think they can serve in a day has been reached.
Be prepared to make your session go quickly and smoothly by bringing your Social Security card, last year’s tax return, proof of health insurance, photo ID such as your license, all forms of income including Social Security and interest. If you plan to itemize deductions, bring materials for these deductions such as health insurance, real estate taxes, medical expenses not paid by insurance, mortgage interest, etc.
Tax returns are filed electronically, but you do receive a copy of the filing and will receive the necessary materials if you have to make a payment. The IRS has announced that it will begin accepting returns on Jan. 29, but tax preparers can submit them earlier.
On behalf of the board of directors and membership of the senior center, I would like to extend thanks to the AARP tax aides for all the help they have given Westerly area residents over the years. This is a valuable service that has saved thousands and thousands of dollars for those who have taken advantage of this service.
Please be aware that Monday the senior center will be closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Mealsite also will be closed.
Saul Richman from Tri-County Community Action has asked that I share the following information:
Social Security recipients are getting a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment this year. You should have gotten a new Social Security award letter in the mail showing your new monthly amount.
Understand your Part B premium costs in 2018. Your Medicare coverage can change each year so it is important to review and understand your benefits. For 2018 the standard Part B premium (deducted from your Social Security) is $134, or higher depending on your income. (Last year it was $104.) You can look at your Social Security statement or call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to determine your premium.
Understand your Part B deductible and coinsurance costs in 2018. If you have original Medicare, you will pay an annual Part B deductible of $183 in 2018, the same as last year. You will continue to pay a 20 percent coinsurance amount for most services covered by Part B. The amount you will pay for Medicare Advantage plan deductibles, copayments, and/or coinsurances varies by plans.
If you have questions about your 2018 Medicare costs and options, call your SHIP counselor. Contact your Senior Medicare Patrol if you notice suspicious health care charges on your statements and bills or if you have enrolled in a plan without your consent. If you have questions, you may contact our community information specialist, Nichole Woodward at 596-2404, Sal Richman at Tri-County at 789-3016, extension 2379, or Social Security at 800-772-1213 or online at socialsecurity.gov.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 29, and reminded taxpayers that refunds will not be available before late February for taxpayers claiming earned income and child tax credits. The filing deadline will be April 17. Software companies and tax professionals will accept tax returns before Jan. 29 and submit them when the IRS systems open. Paper returns will begin processing in mid-February. Nine out of 10 refunds will take less than 21 days.