For some retirees, there's an unanticipated freedom that comes with aging: not having to file a federal tax return.
Due to a combination of limited taxation on Social Security benefits, the tax-free status of some other retirement income — i.e., Roth IRAs — and other tax breaks for older Americans, retirees can reach a point where they owe nothing at tax time and therefore are off the hook for filing.
The bottom line is this: Retirees whose only source of income is Social Security generally have no taxes due and therefore don't need to file a return. For others it depends.
"It's a very common experience for more modest [earners]," said certified financial planner and CPA DeDe Jones, managing director of Innovative Financial in Lakewood, Colorado.
"They're incredulous when it happens, because they've filed returns for 50 or 60 years and it's the end of an era," Jones said.