I want to remind all of the taxpaying seniors out there that, thanks to HB 444 – signed into law several years ago, thanks largely to the efforts of the National Active and Retired Federal Employee – probably 80 percent of your pension/Social Security/public pension could be exempt from Missouri income taxes.

To the editor:

I want to remind all of the taxpaying seniors out there that, thanks to HB 444 – signed into law several years ago, thanks largely to the efforts of the National Active and Retired Federal Employee – probably 80 percent of your pension/Social Security/public pension could be exempt from Missouri income taxes.

If you have a private pension and your adjusted gross income is less than $32,000; if filing combined; or $25,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er); or $16,000 if married filing separate, you are eligible.

If you receive taxable Social Security/Social Security disability benefits and your total Missouri adjusted gross income is less than $100,000 if married filing combined or $85,000 if single, head of household, married filing separate, or qualifying widow(er), you are eligible.

If you receive a public pension and your total Missouri adjusted gross income (excluding taxable Social Security benefits) is less than $100,000 if married filing combined or $85,000 if single, head of household, married filing separate, or qualifying widow(er), you are eligible.

In 2012 forward, these become 100 percent exempt from Missouri income taxes, subject to the limitations listed.

If the “fair tax” petitions succeed, your exemptions go away. If you have not already been approached to sign a petition to “eliminate the Missouri income tax,” you probably will in the near future. If you sign the petition, be aware of what you will be losing. The “fair tax” will apply to all goods and services. If you go to the doctor, sales tax; if you go into a nursing home, sales tax, and on and on and on. You will hear low-ball figures, but if you check it out, the tax rate that will be required is in the vicinity of a 21 percent sales tax.

It took decades to get the seniors these benefits. If you are not aware, they could be lost in short order.