Tax Deductions for Family Caregivers

By Samantha Stein
This article originally appeared on ElderAdmin.com

Aging in place may be a great opportunity for our aging parents to maintain good health. Receiving care in the comforts of their own home may be the less expensive alternative to facility care, but it can leave adult-children-turned-caregivers in a tough spot. After all, the responsibility of providing care to an aging parent can still cause a big financial blow to these family caregivers. This is why these individuals must take advantage of caregiver tax deductions that are often overlooked by many.
Yes, most people aware that the demands of caregiving are substantial. However, not all are truly understand the extent. Often, family caregivers are not able to fully anticipate the gravity of the financial ramifications until they are knee-deep in care expenses. According to The Cost of Family Caregiving: Out-of-Pocket Spending Surprisingly High, a post by AARP, family caregivers spend an average of $6,954 a year—roughly about 20% of their income. Moreover, long-distance caregivers spend $11,923 on average.

Tax Breaks for the Family Caregiver

This situation leaves caregivers to resort to dipping into their savings, cutting back on their own spending, saving less for their own future needs, or taking our loans to cover the costs of caregiving.
This makes taking advantage of tax breaks even more vital to family caregivers.

Claiming Your Parent as a Dependent

Caregivers can declare their elderly parents as their dependents if:
  • The tax filer cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer
  • Your dependent is a resident of the US, Canada, or Mexico
  • Your dependent cannot file a joint tax return with a spouse.
If the initial criteria are met, then they will look into the elder’s income and the amount of support you are providing as their caregiver.

Medical Expense Deductions

As discussed in Long Term Care Deductions, a post by ALTCP.org, adult children may qualify for tax deductions from their elderly parents’ medical expenses. These include services related to treatment, cure, prevention, and diagnosis. To qualify, the total medical and dental spending must exceed 7.5% of the caregiver’s adjusted gross income.
Moreover, home improvements that cater to the needs of aging adults, such as the installation of handrails, ramps, and grab bars, may be included as a part of the deduction. The IRS explains that the costs, however, must not add value to the house.

Multiple Support Declaration among Siblings

The common scenario among families is that siblings split the bill of caring for elderly parents. Each plays a role in providing the care, whether physically or financially. In cases such as this, adult children can opt for multiple support declaration.
This allows children to claim their elderly parents as their dependents and deduct medical expenses. However, this only works if they provide over 50% of their parents’ total support and if their parents qualify as their dependents. Additionally, only one taxpayer can claim a parent as a dependent each year, so it might be best to take turns. Another option is for the family member with the lowest adjusted income to claim the parent as his or her dependent.

Silver Lining in Caregiving

There is no doubt that caregiving to a family member can be exhausting and overwhelming. However, these negative emotions—although completely normal and valid—do not negate how family caregiving can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
It can take its toll on a person’s finances, and no one should ever downplay these effects. However, consultants and business professionals do understand this concern, and every person in the industry is ready to help. There are ways around the hefty costs, whether through long term care insurance, retirement planning, and financial management. This is why it is important to speak with industry specialists now and to allow them to assist you in navigating these roadblocks.

Read the original article and find links to resources here:  https://elderadmin.com/blog/blog-view/21

Traxx Mobility Systems manufactures the Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift for home health care and family caregivers.  

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