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Life Health > Health Insurance > Medicare Planning

Congress Gives Seniors a New 1040SR Tax Form

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U.S. taxpayers ages 65 and older may get to use a new form, the Form 1040SR, to file their federal income tax returns for 2019 and later years.

Section 41106 of the new Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) calls for the Internal Revenue Service to make the 1040SR available for taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of the BBA.

The new form is supposed to resemble the Form 1040EZ, a simplified tax form aimed at individuals with straightforward finances.

(Related: GOP Touts Simpler Tax Filing as a Goal of Reform)

The new 1040SR will be available “only to individuals who have attained age 65 as of the close of the taxable year,” according to the BBA text.

Taxpayers ages 65 and older will be able to use the new form even if they have to report Social Security benefits, distributions from annuities or retirement plans, interest or dividend payments, or capital gains and losses, according to the BBA text.

“The form shall be available without regard to the amount of any item of taxable income or the total amount of taxable income for the taxable year,” according to the BBA text.

The BBA does not appear to make the Form 1040SR available to retirees ages 64 and younger.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

BBA Section 41106 was part of the emergency spending bill that President Trump signed into law early today.

The House and the Senate rushed to draft and approve the BBA legislation in an effort to keep the federal government from shutting down.

President Donald Trump (Photo: White House)

President Donald Trump (Photo: White House)

The federal government’s previous authorization to spend money on its operations expired at midnight Thursday.

The new BBA authorizes the government to continue to spend money until March 23, and it increases spending authority for both defense and non-defense agencies. It also increases the federal government’s statutory debt limit through March 1, 2019, according to a summary provided by the White House.

The BBA does not give the federal government authority to spend money on a long-term basis. Congress will have to approve another spending bill to keep the government from shutting down on March 23.

Congressional leaders packaged the BBA legislation as an amendment to an amendment to H.R. 1892, a bill that updates the rules federal facilities must follow when they fly flags at half-staff.

A copy of the text of the BBA is available here.

Legislative Tugboat

Republicans and Democrats have had a hard time finding enough common ground to pass many ordinary bills with much significance in recent years. They have always passed whatever legislation was needed to keep the government running.

Because lawmakers know spending bills will get signed into law, they often attach many unrelated provisions to spending bills.

Members of Congress used the BBA legislation as a tugboat to pull a number of Medicare bills to the White House.

One Medicare-related provision could increase Medicare plan premiums for enrollees who have more than $500,000 per year in modified adjusted gross income.

Other Medicare provisions could lead to new Medicare Advantage telehealth benefits, and new Medicare wellness and condition management programs.

Still another major BBA provision will create a Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans. The committee is supposed to give Congress a solvency reform proposal to vote on by January 2020.

— Read 5 Major Medicare Changes in the New Anti-Shutdown Bill on ThinkAdvisor.

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