Tax deductions for senior citizens: what you need to know

1 min readLast updated March 28, 2024by Unbiased team

Find out how you can claim the various tax deductions available for senior citizens.


  • You may qualify for one or more of the numerous tax deductions for senior citizens offered by the IRS. 

  • Tax breaks for seniors include additional standard deductions, spousal IRA contributions, tax deductions for Medicare, tax credits, and delayed IRA required minimum distributions. 

  • A qualified financial advisor can help you navigate your taxes in retirement and claim the maximum available deductions. 

What is a tax deduction? 

A tax deduction is a dollar amount that taxpayers can deduct from their taxable income in order to minimize the total amount of taxes they owe to the IRS.  

As a senior citizen or retiree, you are eligible for a number of tax deductions.  

These tax deductions for seniors can help you protect your income in retirement

What tax breaks are available for seniors? 

Eligibility for each of the tax breaks for seniors depends on several factors. 

Let’s take a look at each of the tax deductions for senior citizens for which you may be eligible: 

Additional standard deduction 

If you are over the age of 65, you can claim the additional standard deduction for people over 65. This deduction stacks on the regular standard deduction and can further reduce your taxable income.  

If you were born before January 2, 1959, you are considered to be over 65 for tax year 2023 (paid in 2024). This tax break for seniors varies depending on several factors, as detailed below.   

Here’s a breakdown of the available additional standard deduction tax breaks for seniors, along with the conditions attached to each: 

  • Single or head of household: $1,850 

  • Married (filing separately) or widowed: $1,500 per qualifying person or qualifying surviving spouse 

  • Single or head of household andblind: $3,700 

  • Married (filing jointly or separately) and blind: $3,000 per qualifying individual 

If only one spouse is 65 or older, the extra amount for 2023 is $1,550 and $3,000 if both spouses are 65 or older. 

The regular standard deductions are: 

  • Single or married filing separately:  $13,850  

  • Head of household: $20,800 

  • Married filing jointly or widowed (qualifying surviving spouse): $27,700 

Spousal IRA contributions 

Typically, once you retire and are no longer drawing an income, you generally can’t make contributions to your individual retirement account (IRA).  

However, this tax break for retirees allows your spouse, if they are still working, to contribute to your IRA or Roth IRA on your behalf. 

Note the following conditions attached to this tax deduction for retirees: 

  • The contributing spouse’s income must meet the minimum IRA requirement (sufficient for their contributions to both their own IRA and yours). 

  • The annual limit for such contributions was $6,500 in 2023, and it rose to $7,000 in 2024

  • For the 2023 tax year, total combined contributions to your and your spouse’s IRAs cannot exceed $13,000 if only one of you is at least 50 years old. Said contributions cannot exceed $15,000 ($16,000 for 2024) if both of you are older than 50. 

Tax deduction for Medicare premiums 

If you are paying additional premiums to get the level of healthcare coverage you need, on top of your basic Medicare insurance, you could qualify for a tax break on these premiums.  

Medicare premiums are tax deductible as a medical expense if you itemize your deduction.  

For 2023, you can deduct medical expenses only if you itemize deductions and only to the extent that total qualifying expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. 

Alternatively, if you enter self-employment after retirement, your premiums for Medicare Parts B and D are tax deductible.  

This tax break for retirees extends to the cost of supplementing your Medicare with Medigap or a similar policy or of taking out a Medicare Advantage plan. 

Tax credits 

You may also qualify for a tax credit for low-income older adults.  

You are eligible for this tax break as a senior citizen if you meet the following criteria: 

  • You were age 65 or older at the end of the tax year, or you were under 65 but retired on permanent and total disability and received taxable disability income. 

  • You pass two different income tests related to your adjusted gross income (AGI) and the combined total of your Social Security, pension, disability, and annuity income. (Maximum income thresholds differ depending on your filing status). 

  • You’re a qualified individual.  

Required minimum distributions 

If you are retired and have a traditional IRA, you have the option to hold back a large portion of your required minimum distributions (RMD) until the end of the year (December).  

If you don’t need the entire RMD to live on during the year, this tax break for retirees allows you to cover your estimated tax on the RMD as well as your other taxable income. 

How do retirees get tax deductions? 

To learn how to maximize tax deductions for senior citizens, visit the IRS website’s Tax Information for Seniors & Retirees page.  

Here, you’ll find guidelines and links to the relevant forms. 

Don’t be alarmed if you find the volume of information available on this page overwhelming. You can easily and affordably secure the services of an expert financial advisor to help you navigate the process. 

Get expert financial advice 

To make your retirement as comfortable as possible, you need to know about all available tax deductions for senior citizens. 

You also need to know how these apply to you and how to take advantage of these tax breaks for seniors. 

To learn more about planning your retirement and for expert financial advice, let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor who understands how important your retirement is to you. 

Find your financial advisor now.  


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.