The devastating images and clips from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian rolling through the news feeds are truly heartbreaking. It’s incredibly difficult to watch the crippling effects of situations like these. All of us here at Emelia Mensa, CPA send our thoughts and prayers to those in the affected areas.
As relief efforts continue via Red Cross and other disaster relief programs (and of which you can contribute to), another form of relief for Florida residents comes via the IRS. Late last week they announced that the extension deadline has been postponed to February 15th for qualifying individual and business tax returns. One caveat to mention here is that this of course does not apply to any taxes owed for 2021 filings (as those were due April 18, 2022).
This disaster-relief extension also applies to quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 17 as well as the quarterly payroll and excise tax return October 31 and January 31 deadlines.
And for more in-depth insight on that topic, see the IRS’s website.
Naturally, if you’re one of our clients (and even if you’re not) and have questions about taxes and disaster situations, especially as they may apply to you or someone you know, we’re more than happy to discuss that:
Now, for something on the brighter side, let’s jump into something that could benefit your wallet in these financially-trying times …
Emelia Mensa’s Guide to Senior Discounts
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” – Oscar Wilde
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Who isn’t getting older? Who doesn’t love a little reward for all the time put in?
You’ve probably heard a lot about senior discounts through the years. (You may also be stunned if you’re suddenly old enough to get one …) In fact, the deals today are available to people in a younger age bracket than you’d think, and you can get them on a whole universe of stuff.
Prescriptions, eye drops, groceries, a new shirt: You can make senior discounts part of your everyday shopping if you know where and how to look. As inflation eats into the fixed budgets of golden years, the discounts you’ve earned can become an important way to save money.
That doesn’t mean you’re old – it means you’re smart.
More than just a treat
Once upon a time, senior discounts seemed like just a way to get into the latest blockbuster and still have enough left over for a large popcorn. Now, they’re a more important way to save money.
Even in the wake of Social Security’s recent largest cost of living hike in 40 years, inflation is still squeezing seniors. Groceries are expected to jump some 2% – at least – in price soon, with eating out getting even more costly. Rent, housing, and utilities are also going nowhere but up (fuel oil and gas could jump up 25% this winter). Closer to home for seniors is the fact that prescription drug premiums are expected to rise about 5% in the year ahead.
Ouch and ouch.
Senior discounts have been around a long time, so you’ve probably heard of the deals on movie tickets, museum admissions, travel, and the like. Did you know you can also score breaks on clothing and groceries, insurance, home repair, security systems, mortgages… even massages?
Merchants trumpet these deals as signs of respect. Some counter that the discounts don’t show nearly the level of respect for seniors that, for instance, more funding for Medicare would. However you look at it, the list of discounts seems to keep getting longer.
A few popular sites to find such lists include:
- American Association of Retired Persons Member Benefits (AARP): Probably the first organization people think of when looking for senior anything. Offers are broken down alphabetically and by topic and run a pretty complete gamut.
- Senior Citizen Discount List: Done by state, which is handy for both at-home and travel.
- Senior Strong: Busted out by category, including “major” living expenses. The list is also available in Spanish.
(Just like the discounts themselves, the amount of discount listings also keep expanding, so feel free to Google…)
You’ll have heard of many of the names behind these offers: household-name chains like Walgreens, Kohl’s, and Exxon; restaurants like Applebee’s and Denny’s; cell phone providers like T-Mobile and Verizon; and travel giants like Avis, Hertz, and Comfort Inn. Some discounts are embedded in using an organization’s service, like booking travel with AARP.
The fine print
First and most obvious question: How old do you have to be to get a discount? Depends, but 50 seems to be the lowest age these breaks kick in. Like much about these discounts, the figure does seem to vary all the way into the early 60s. Some businesses also offer a discount only if you’ve hit 65. Others might give seniors with disabilities a higher discount or cut special deals with ex- or active military members or police.
Discounts may be available all the time and based on age alone; others may only be good at certain hours or days or in certain locations. Don’t wait for the bill to discover that the goodness of their heart doesn’t run as deep as you thought – always ask about discount details.
One major factor in qualifying is the organization that you join to get the discount. For instance, you can apply for membership to AARP at any age, but you won’t unlock some benefits (including several discounts) until you close in on the golden years.
So what does all this actually save you? Discounts typically run (10% to 15% and sometimes a lot more) and can include other types of perks and upgrades. And of course, the more you buy, the more you’re going to save.
Which leads us to the last point about discounts: You didn’t get this far in life without realizing that nothing’s free. As always with deals, make sure you don’t spend more than you save on something you maybe didn’t want in the first place.
One of my goals in being a trusted tax professional is providing you insight on a variety of tax-related topics. From senior discounts to home loans to retirement accounts, I want you to have access to the information that will help serve you in every area of life.
In your corner,
Emelia Mensa, CPA