From the Archives: Do I Have to File a Tax Return After I Turn 72?

One last greatest hits post before new posts resume on Monday the 5th.

This post from January 2012 remains popular 3 years later. There’s apparently something going around where people think they can stop filing taxes once they reach age 72. As this post points out, this is simply not true


Originally published January 14, 2012

cake-366346_1280Twice in the last month Google has led people searching for “Do I have to file a tax return after I turn 72?” to this site. The search engine is linking folks to a story I ran in November about a Tax Court case where the Court ruled against a man who stopped filing tax returns when he turned 72 years old.

To answer the question: YES, you have to file a tax return no matter how young or old you are … if your income exceeds certain levels.

As I wrote in my November story:

(A) single person over age 65 does not have to file a tax return unless their income exceeds $10,950 (in 2011). Social Security benefits are generally NOT included in the income calculation unless your other income exceeds $25,000 if single or $32,000 if married. Refer to Table 1-1 on Page 6 of IRS Publication 17 for more information.

Is there an urban legend going around about something magical that happens to your taxes when you turn 72? I can envision this coming from a chain e-mail that tells you to forward on to ten people within the next hour for good luck, or something like that. If anyone knows the origin of this “age 72″ tax rumor, please let me know. I like to keep tabs on tax urban legends.Click here to read my story about the Tax Court case from November.

Image courtesy of user jgojtan on