News & Events

Can I Claim My Elderly Loved One as a Dependent on My Taxes?


Elder Law Associates Newsletter dated July 4, 2018

It isn’t just time, but money that most caregivers donate to help support the ones they love. When tax time rolls around, you may be able to claim the person you care for as a dependent on your income taxes. This would allow you to get an exemption for the support you provide for him or her. 

To claim your elderly loved one as a dependent, they must meet the following preliminary criteria:
  • They cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • They must be a citizen or resident of the U.S., or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • They cannot file a joint tax return with a spouse.

If your loved one passes these three initial requirements, read the additional criteria that are explained in detail below.

Your Relationship
The person who you want to claim as a dependent must either be a relative by blood or marriage or a member of your household. Relatives do not have to live with you to qualify. Examples include a mother, father, grandparent, stepmother, stepfather, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.
If you wish to claim a non-relative as a dependent, such as a friend, they must have lived with you for the entire year to qualify as a relative in the IRS’ eyes. A non-relative is still considered to be living with you even if they spend time in the hospital or are permanently placed in a nursing home. These scenarios are considered temporary absences.
The Elder’s Income
Your loved one’s gross income for the tax year must be less than $4,050. Social Security benefits are normally excludable, but if they have other income from sources like pensions, interest and dividends, a portion of their benefits may be taxable.
The Amount of Support You Provide
You must have provided over half of your dependent’s financial support for food, housing, medical expenses, transportation, etc. If the person lives with you, include a reasonable percentage of your mortgage, utilities and other household costs in determining the level of support you provide.
Relatives by blood and marriage do not have to live with you in order to be claimed as a dependent. When they live in their own home, in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, the costs you pay for their support at those locations count toward the IRS requirement. Those who are in an assisted living or long-term care facility can qualify as dependents if the income and support levels are met.
Article Source: AgingCare