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My parents are over 80 and had under $15,000 in rental income last year, plus $13,000 in non-taxable Social Security benefits. Answering the list of questions on the IRS website, I concluded that they did not have to file taxes and they weren't expecting a refund.

I was able to find their tax returns for the last 10 years, all done by H&R Block, and all done unnecessarily and at a rate of $200+ per return that took maybe all of 15 minutes to prepare.

Would this be considered elder abuse?

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Veronica91, thanks for mentioning that. I didn't notice those wordings when I was reading the instructions for the 1040. But even including their social security, their income was under the $32,000 threshold (married, filing jointly).
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Tigermom are you excluding their social security. i know it is not taxable but it still is income.
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Thanks vegaslady & Debralee. I have been going through all of their finances and paperwork. It was when I started filling out their 1040 that I realized what little income they had. They grossed $16,000 from their rental and their total income for the year was under $15,000, well below the threshold for being required to file taxes. That is what caused me to be concerned about why they were being charged for filing taxes when they didn't even need to. Well, H&R Block isn't going to get their money anymore.
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Tigermom, I understand why you are now helping your mom. Are you concerned about a prior year when your dad made the choice to hire a reputable company to do their taxes? Many people feel fine about paying a company to do their taxes for them them and willingly pay the going rate for the sense of security that they get. It's not elder abuse. If your mom doesn't know much about her finances you might want to look over the paperwork on the rental income -title to the property, gross income, itemized expenses, etc. just to make sure that everything is as you expect it is.
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debra, sorry if I was abrupt. Now let's address the rental. The parents got $15,000 from a rental. That's the net income, right? The property probably took in $30,000 gross, but there were expenses that reduced that to $15K. The IRS will want to tax you on the whole $30K UNLESS you can prove, on a schedule E, that there were expenses reducing your net income to $15K. And a schedule E is attached to a 1040 long form. So yes, you have to file to prove that your income was less than the taxable amount for filing. Does this make sense? No. But if you don't file, the IRS gets really grumpy.
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Whoa insults need not apply! Tax regulations are extemely complicated. I have no love for H&R Block, but no elder abuse for their questionable expertise and unreasoanble costs. Rental income is taxable and with all the deductables that could lower the income tax liabilities, a tax accountant would be more suitable. There is also a the circuit breaker tax relief in some states that give seniors refunds even if they have no tax liability. Your parents with their age and situation may actually qualify for a refund.
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I have an LLC and rental property and my taxes are certainly not simple and I wish the bill was as little as $200.
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ill bet, like vegaslady said, there are tax ramifications that may have consequences down the road when properties change hands or something. hr block wanted to charge me 300.00 a year and my business structure is the simplest possible so 200.00 bucks is probably pretty fair. hr blocks 200.00 a year is a deductible business expense though.
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You are a dingbat. They MUST file a schedule E on the rental property. Now go back to sleep.
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I am involved because my dad recently passed away and my mom has no idea about any of her finances or anything else because she always let my dad handle everything and English is not her first language. I just finished "filing" their taxes and found that they did not meet the income requirement to have to file taxes. So is it business to charge someone for something that didn't need to be done?

They've had their rental for over 30 years so there is no depreciation and all the expenses is being handled by their property manager so there really is no paperwork or complications.
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No, this is not elder abuse for crying out loud. It's business. If your parents have rental income it's likely that their tax situation is more complicated than you understand. They probably have depreciation and other expenses that have to be carried out on their tax returns. That may come into play when the time comes for that property to be transferred or sold. There may be tax consequences in the future. Have they showed you their tax return? Are they competent? If yes,step out if this. Why is this your business?
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