Seniors and Tax Reform

All eyes are on the Senate to work with the House tax plan passed on November 16th that promises tax relief  for the middle class.  However, senior citizens appear to be ignored in this congressional effort to reform taxation. What is overlooked is that senior citizens, in their so-called “golden years,” have limited retirement resources. The burden all seniors face is state and county income and property taxes. Their savings and retirement income is often used to cover unexpected medical costs, including dental and assisted living expenses.  Since both the House and Senate bills do not address the special needs of seniors it then places seniors between a rock and a hard place.

David V MacCollum

To overcome the problems that seniors must cope with requires the following: Clear cut incentives for individuals during their working years to have tax relief for funding their retirement; special exceptions for state and local income and property tax;  a complete write-off on all medical expenses not covered by Medicare; a further deduction for all retirement or royalty income for those that are 65 years or older; and expense deductions for all families who are providing assisted living, including the associated travel, to ensure for the well-being of their aged parents or other family members. As people tend to live longer (many into their 90’s) they still can be a part of the great American work force, which can reduce local and federal support costs.   Local communities are often hard pressed to provide needed community services. Part time non-political volunteers can aid city, county and states with their lifetime experience and expertise and could be rewarded with federal tax credits for this community service. Not for profit public service organizations and churches would also benefit with a federal tax credit for volunteer assistance.

These thoughts are not part of a great socialized welfare state but it can expand the resources for educational activities. Full time teachers are underpaid. With part-time unpaid volunteer assistance, the school districts can raise salaries for teachers by involving seniors who are an active part of the community with the added benefit of being helpful to their well-being, while expanding local resources. Senior citizens are a national treasure of experience and expertise, which should be tapped. A modest tax credit for their time, in many circumstances, will spur the economy by reducing the budget of local government, which reflects in lower taxes. It is a medical fact that providing meaningful activity for seniors improves their health. An active mind engaged in the use of their wisdom is a key activity that promotes this health benefit. Involvement of seniors, many who are licensed professionals who are granted modest tax credits can reduce the community services paid staff while still meeting the needs of the community.

This involvement of seniors reduces the need for the overgrown federal government to meddle in local affairs.  Seniors should be part of tax reform by encouraging their involvement to reduce the size of both local and federal government.

About David V. MacCollum 64 Articles
David V. MacCollum is a past president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and was a member of the first U.S. Secretary of Labor's Construction Safety Advisory Committee [1969-1972]. He is the author of: Construction Safety Planning (Jun 16, 1995) Crane Hazards and Their Prevention (Jan 1, 1991) Construction Safety Engineering Principles (McGraw-Hill Construction Series): Designing and Managing Safer Job Sites Jan 8, 2007) Building Design and Construction Hazards (May 15, 2005)


  1. You forgot the elephant in the room
    of taxation on seniors.

    Congress established $25,000.** income as “rich”
    for purposes of Social Security taxation
    in 1984, and have never indexed it except
    to add MORE taxes. [85% subject to tax at “ultra-rich”
    level of $34,000.**.

    **for married couples the numbers are $32,000. and $44,000.

    First, it means possible double taxation on the first “X”
    dollars received from SSA, based on lifetime contributions.

    Second, during that same time frame that Congress did NOT
    index Social Security taxation for inflation; they voted
    themselves over $100,000.00 per year INCREASE. (even higher
    for “ranking members” and Senators!

    • That deduction is very important for everyone. It really helps when you have a sick child (cancer, MS and so on) or one that has been hurt.

  2. An IRA is tax-deferred until one starts withdrawing from it after retirement. Do the same with ordinary savings – defer the taxes on the interest until the interest is withdrawn. This is a long-term aid to a solution.

    A short term one is exempt seniors from federal taxes. A solution I put out for discussion but do not endorse.

  3. Seniors are the ones whom put Trump at the helm, so why are we being screwed? AARP is supposed to help Seniors from this kind of oversight, so where are they on this point? Telling McSally, Flake and McCain is like talking to the wall. The “Golden Years” are a joke!

  4. Tax reform without spending cuts is worthless. We don’t have a revenue problem in Washington, we have a spending problem.

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