Yes, You Have to File a Tax Return, Even if You’re 72 Years Old

This post is from 2011 but is interesting so I am leaving it up. Every now and then, a false rumor that you can stop filing tax returns once you reach age 72 goes around. This rumor is false. Also note: in the last paragraph, the dollar amount referenced is from 2011. 


 In a strange Tax Court case Wednesday, the Court ruled against a man who quit filing tax returns when he turned 72 years old.  According to the Court report:

Petitioner did not file Federal income tax returns for the tax years 1999 through 2005. Petitioner believed that once he turned 72 years old, he did not have to pay taxes anymore.

The Court obviously ruled against the man.  He now owes taxes for those years and the Court also added on penalties:

Petitioner seeks relief from these additions to tax, arguing that he is ignorant of and has misinterpreted the law. Petitioner’s mistake as to or ignorance of the law does not amount to reasonable cause, and thus his argument will not relieve him from the imposition of these additions to tax.

The moral?  File your tax returns, no matter how old or young you are.*

The Court ruling can be found here.

*-If your income is below certain levels, you do NOT have to file a tax return. For example, 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.