In the news today, one of our local House reps, Chris Lee, is introducing a bill to simplify the tax forms for people over 65. He wants to create something closer to the 1040-EZ form for older people because, “filling out tax forms can be a complicated and confusing process. This bill makes the process much easier for seniors, and will hopefully provide seniors with a little peace of mind during an already stressful time of year.”
While this is a well-intentioned move, we at Changing Aging would be remiss not to call out the ageism inherent in this bill. The tax code needs to be simplified for all Americans, and those over 65 have no special claim to being confused or stressed.
We have a long-time family friend named Bob, who is a retired accountant for Kodak. Bob is pushing 90 and still does my mother’s taxes for her every year. Many people use assistance, from friends with expertise to chains like H&R Block, or private accountants. I don’t think that access to these services favors the young.
In fact, since tax forms are all about number-crunching and detailed record-keeping, I would venture to guess that people over 65 are generally better equipped to handle the process than younger generations.