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stock photo of glasses, pen and calculator on top of tax preparation formsThe deadline for filing 2017 taxes is Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 for Massachusetts residents. The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) usually receives calls at this time of year from individuals requesting information on obtaining assistance with preparing their taxes and about deductions and credits that apply to individuals with disabilities. This post aims to provide an overview of various resources available when it comes to filing taxes.

Assistance with Filing Taxes

There are 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 program near you by using the IRS VITA Locator Tool.

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 or see the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

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.
  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 that 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.

Additional Resources

The following publications provide more tax information 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

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

Please note, the purpose of this post is to provide those interested with information regarding various tax incentives and credits. This post should not take the place of a professional tax advisor or accountant.

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