top of page
  • ConnollySteele

You may be entitled to tax breaks if caring for an elderly relative


There are many rewards for taking care of an elderly relative. They may include feeling needed, making a difference in the person’s life and allowing the person to receive quality care. In addition, you could also be eligible for tax breaks. Here’s a rundown of four of them:



1. Medical expenses. If the individual qualifies as your “medical dependent” and you itemize deductions on your tax return, you can include any medical expenses you incur for the person along with your own when determining your medical deduction. The test for determining whether an individual qualifies as your “medical dependent” is less stringent than that used to determine whether an individual is your “dependent,” which is discussed below. In general, an individual qualifies as a medical dependent if you provide over 50% of his or her support, including medical costs.


However, bear in mind that medical expenses are deductible only to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).


The costs of qualified long-term care services required by a chronically ill individual and eligible long-term care insurance premiums are included in the definition of deductible medical expenses. There’s an annual cap on the amount of premiums that can be deducted. The cap is based on age, and in 2024 goes from $470 for an individual age 40 or less to $5,880 for an individual over 70.


2. Filing status. If you aren’t married, you may qualify for “head-of-household” status by virtue of the individual you’re caring for. You can claim this status if:


  • The person you’re caring for lives in your household,

  • You cover more than half the household costs,

  • The person qualifies as your “dependent,” and

  • The person is a relative.


If the person you’re caring for is your parent, the person doesn’t need to live with you, so long as you provide more than half of the person’s household costs and the person qualifies as your dependent. A head of household has a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than a single filer.


There are requirements for determining whether your loved one is a “dependent.” Dependency exemptions are suspended (or disallowed) for 2018 through 2025. But even though the dependency exemption is currently suspended, the dependency tests still apply when it comes to determining whether a taxpayer is entitled to various other tax benefits, such as head-of-household filing status.


For an individual to qualify as your “dependent,” the following must be true for the tax year at issue:


  • You must provide more than 50% of the individual’s support costs,

  • The individual must either live with you or be related,

  • The individual must not have gross income in excess of an inflation-adjusted exemption amount,

  • The individual can’t file a joint return for the year, and

  • The individual must be a U.S. citizen or a resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.


3. Dependent care credit. If the cared-for individual qualifies as your dependent, lives with you and physically or mentally can’t take care of him- or herself, you may qualify for the dependent care credit for costs you incur for the individual’s care to enable you and your spouse to go to work.


4. Nonchild dependent credit. For 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) established a $500 federal income tax credit for dependents who don’t qualify for the Child Tax Credit. A dependent parent can make you eligible for this $500 credit. However, your parent must pass the aforementioned gross income test to be classified as your dependent for purposes of this credit. You must also pay over half of your parent’s support.


The credit is phased out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 ($400,000 for a married couple that files jointly). The credit is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 that your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold.


Contact us if you’d like to further discuss the tax aspects of financially supporting and caring for an elderly relative.


© 2024

3 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page