Post Content

The deadline for filing 2016 taxes is Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 for Massachusetts residents. MOD usually receives calls this time of year from individuals requesting information on obtaining assistance with preparing their taxes and also on deductions and credits that apply to persons with disabilities. This post aims to provide an overview of various supports and benefits available when it comes to filing income taxes.

stock photo of glasses, pen and calculator on top of tax preparation forms

Assistance with Filing Taxes

There are various free or low-cost services available to help individuals in MA with preparing and filing their taxes.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides tax help at no cost to individuals who make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, seniors and limited English speaking taxpayers. IRS-certified volunteers provide free fundamental income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly Programs (TCE) provide free services for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. The program specializes in questions regarding pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

Find a VITA or TCE programs near you by using the IRS VITA Locator Tool (external link).

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. TAS ensures that taxpayers are treated fairly and understand their rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. TAs provides free service to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS. You can reach TAS at 1-877-777-4778 or 617-316-2690 for the Boston office.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) assist individuals whose income is below a certain level to resolve tax problems including audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. To find a clinic near you, visit IRS- Taxpayer Advocate (external link) or see the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List (external link).

Income Tax Credits and Deductions for Individuals with Disabilities

 Various tax credits and other benefits on tax returns may be available to taxpayers who have a disability. These include:

  1. A potentially higher standard deduction for legally blind taxpayers on federal tax.
  2. An Additional Exemption for the Blind against earned income for state income tax under Massachusetts General Law (external link).
  3. Exclusion of certain disability-related payments, Veterans Administration disability benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from gross income.
  4. Ability to claim “Impairment-Related Work Expenses,” i.e. business expenses which are necessary for an individual with a disability to work.
  5. The Credit for the Elderly or Disabled for certain taxpayers who are 65 and older as well as to certain disabled taxpayers who are younger than 65 and are retired on permanent and total disability.
  6. Deduction of medical and dental expenses for taxpayers who itemize deductions.
  7. Earned Income Tax Credit EITC for disabled taxpayers as well as to the parents of a child with a disability.
  8. Child or Dependent Care Credit for certain taxpayers who pay someone to care for their dependent or spouse so they can work or look for work.

Find more information on these credits and deductions on the IRS page Tax Benefits for Disabled Taxpayers (external link).

Additional Resources

The following publications provide more tax information that is relevant to taxpayers with disabilities:

Publication 907 Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities

IRS- More Information for People with Disabilities

IRS- Living and Working with Disabilities

Mass.gov- How to File Your Massachusetts State Income Taxes

The above focuses on income tax only. There are other types of disability-related tax exemptions and credits which we will cover in a future post.

Your feedback is important! Please take our brief, 5-question survey HERE.

On Twitter? Follow us @Massdisability for updates and more blog posts!

Written By:

Tags: ,

Recent Posts

2017 Call for Art & Exhibition: “Breaking Barriers” Hosted by Massachusetts Office on Disability is Underway! posted on Feb 3

2017 Call for Art & Exhibition: "Breaking Barriers" Hosted by Massachusetts Office on Disability is Underway!

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our 2017 Call for Art and juried art exhibition. We are calling on talented Massachusetts residents of all abilities to submit an original work which captures the theme of “Breaking Barriers.” Selected entries will be displayed at a public exhibition in late 2017 (date to be determined) and in an online gallery.

Requirements for Compliant Ramp Slopes Under ADA Design Standards and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Regulations posted on Dec 27

Requirements for Compliant Ramp Slopes Under ADA Design Standards and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Regulations

Safe and effective ramps are essential to ensuring the independence of individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. This post will discuss ramp running slope and ramp cross slope requirements that make ramps usable and accessible. We will also clarify the specific differences in the slope requirements and obligations between the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board’s (MAAB) rules and regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Design Standards (ADA Design Standards).

Updates on Web Accessibility posted on Dec 15

Updates on Web Accessibility

When last we wrote on this topic in spring of 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) was set to issue proposed regulations on web information and services for state and local governments. In a turn of events, the DOJ instead issued a rare Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) in “order to solicit public comment on various issues relating to the potential application of such technical requirements to the websites of Title II entities and to obtain information for preparing a regulatory impact analysis.”