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Legislation to Cut Tax Paperwork for Seniors

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is cosponsoring legislation aimed at easing the headaches many seniors face when filing their taxes by creating a new short form for retirees.

"As it is now, the process is much more complicated than it needs to be. Seniors have to go through a lot of paperwork because of Social Security and retirement income," said Pingree. "It would be much easier if they could fill out a short form taking that into account, which this legislation would create. It just makes sense on so many levels."

Taxpayers 65 or older cannot file their taxes using the 1040EZ form because it does not have a line for pension and Social Security benefits (that income is reported differently than wages). Instead, they must fill out the more complicated 1040 form, even if they don't itemize deductions.

This legislation would create a basic, easy-to-read 1040SR for seniors earning Social Security and retirement benefits. The IRS conducted a successful pilot program using a similar form in 2004.

"I think this legislation will be certainly be helpful. Anything to make life easier for seniors," said Joan Jagolinzer, former state coordinator for AARP Tax-Aide, a volunteer-run organization that helps 20,000 Mainers file their taxes every year. "There's no reason to have seniors sit out there frustrated when there could be an easier way."

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