Tax Information for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities and their families may be eligible for local, state, or federal tax relief.
Tax Relief Programs
Fairfax County has had a tax relief program in effect since January 1972; the program is administered by the County’s Department of Tax Administration. There are three categories of the tax relief program: real estate, personal property (car tax), and rental grants. Tax relief for all three categories may be granted to County residents who are permanently and totally disabled. In each case there are income limitations as well as exclusions to income which govern the eligibility for tax relief.
To obtain tax relief, an Application for Tax Relief must be obtained from the Department of Tax Administration. It is available on their web site www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta, click on Forms, then click on Application for Tax Relief. There are two fairly stringent requirements:
Persons (or spouses) applying for tax relief for the first time as
permanently and totally disabled must provide certification and date
disability began from one of the following:
- The Veterans Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board.
- An Affidavit signed by two doctors who are licensed to practice medicine in Virginia, or are military officers on active duty who practice medicine with the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Certification by the Social Security Administration.
- Income and asset information along with documented proof must be provided. This information requirement is quite comprehensive. All of the required information is clearly listed on the application form.
First time applications may be submitted anytime up to December 31 of the tax year for which tax relief is being requested. Subsequent applications must be filed no later than April 1 of the tax year concerned.
For specific information on tax relief, to include income and asset information pertaining to eligibility for tax relief, contact the Tax Relief Program office of the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration:
County of Fairfax
Department of Tax Administration, Suite 223
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035
Virginia offers the Livable Home Tax Credit Program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The program is designed to improve accessibility and universal visitability in Virginia’s residential units. Individuals may be eligible for an income tax credit up to $5,000 for the purchase of a new accessible residence and up to 50% of the amount spent retrofitting an existing residence, not to exceed $5,000. Unused credit can be carried over for up to 7 years.
In order to be eligible for the credit, the application for the credit may be submitted upon the purchase of a qualifying residence or the completion of retrofitting activities to an existing residence but not later than February 28 of the year after the purchase or retrofitting activities have been completed.
For complete details concerning eligibility, requirements, and application forms, go to Livable Home Tax Credit Program.
Free Tax Return Preparation for You by Volunteers
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax
Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for
taxpayers who qualify.
Trained community volunteers may help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing).
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country.
For a listing of VITA locations in the Fairfax area, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/childrenyouth/families/free_income_tax_prep.htm.
Credits and Deductions
Taxpayers with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities may qualify for a number of IRS tax credits and benefits. If you or someone else listed on your federal tax return has a disability, you may be eligible for one of the tax credits listed below. In addition, there are several programs that can help people with disabilities prepare their taxes and file them electronically for free.
- Standard Deduction: Taxpayers who are legally blind may be entitled to a higher standard deduction on their tax return.
- Gross Income: Certain disability-related payments, Veterans Administration disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are excluded from gross income.
- Impairment-Related Work Expenses: Employees who have physical or mental disabilities limiting their employment may be able to claim business expenses in connection with their workplace. The expenses must be necessary for the taxpayer to work.
- Credit for the Elderly or People with Disabilities: This credit is generally available to certain taxpayers who are 65 and older, as well as to certain taxpayers with disabilities who are younger than 65 and are retired on permanent and total disability.
- Medical Expenses: If you itemize your tax deductions using Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct medical expenses. See IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): EITC is available to taxpayers with disabilities, as well as to the parents of a child with a disability. If you retired on disability, taxable benefits you receive under your employer’s disability retirement plan are considered earned income until you reach minimum retirement age. The EITC is a tax credit that not only reduces a taxpayer’s tax liability but may also result in a refund. Many working individuals with a disability who have no qualifying children, but are older than 25 and younger than 65, do qualify for EITC. Additionally, if the taxpayer’s child has a disability, the age limitation for the EITC is waived. The EITC has no effect on certain public benefits. Any refund you receive because of the EITC will not be considered income when determining whether you are eligible for benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
- Child or Dependent Care Credit: Taxpayers who pay someone to care for their dependent or spouse, so they can work or look for work may be entitled to claim this credit. There is no age limit if the taxpayer’s spouse or dependent is unable to care for themselves.
For more information on tax credits and benefits available to taxpayers with disabilities, see Publication 3966, Living and Working with Disabilities or Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities, available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/ or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Accessible IRS Tax Products
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is committed to making every document on its Web site accessible to the widest possible audience. They work to ensure that their documents are, to the maximum extent feasible, accessible to persons using special assistive technology, including screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays, and voice recognition software.
The IRS Alternative Media Center has prepared hundreds of its most popular tax forms and publications using full text descriptions where needed and is making these files available for download through IRS.gov. Most of the files prepared in this manner are in ASCII text format, a few were prepared in HTML and all have been transcribed for Braille. The Braille print files are in .brf format and can be sent directly to an embosser for high quality Braille output.
To download these files, use the following links:
- Disability Related Publications
- Forms in Braille and Text Formats
- Publications in Braille and Text Formats
- Talking Tax Forms
- Instructions in Large Print Format
- Publications in Large Print Format
- View Instructions for Tax Forms (HTML Format);
- View Tax Publications (HTML Format);
Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons With Disabilities
Talking Tax Forms
The IRS Alternative Media Center is working to make IRS tax forms and publications fully accessible and Section 508 compliant. These "talking tax forms" work with MSAA compliant screen readers as well as Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software. They are using the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) as a means of distributing government forms as well as other documents.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly
The Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program provides free tax help to people aged 60 and older. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. Volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at more than 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to those ages 60 and older.
Items you need to bring to the VITA/TCE sites to have your tax returns prepared:
- Proof of identification
- Social Security Cards for you, your spouse, and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Current year’s tax package if you received one
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
- Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
- To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required form.
A variety of publications about exemptions, deductions, and credits are applicable to people with disabilities, including the following:
Tax laws change frequently, so it is worthwhile to check eligibility each year.
Some Useful Telephone Numbers and Web Sites