It is increasingly common for adult children to take care of their elderly parents. As such support begins to become both financial and significant, many wonder if a tax break might be available to help offset some of the expenses.
As it is the answer to many other tax questions, the answer to this one is also: “It depends.” Here are some of the key considerations in determining whether you can claim your parent as a dependent. (For ease of understanding, we will assume that the father in question is his mother.)
How much support do you give your mother?
To take the dependent exemption for Mom, you must provide her with significant support. Giving mom a shoulder to lean on or other emotional support is irrelevant. We are talking about important financial support for.
In fact, your support should be at least half the cost of what it takes to keep her comfortable. That cost includes any money spent on items as varied as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. If your support is not at least 50% of the total, you cannot claim your father as your dependent.
Where does mom live? Is she a US citizen? Is she even your real mother?
To be eligible, mom must be a US citizen, US resident alien, US national, or resident of Canada or Mexico. Of course mom has to be your mom too.
While a mother-in-law would also qualify, another woman (even if she was “like a mother” to you growing up) won’t unless she lived with you all year. Your mother or mother-in-law would not have to live with you year-round since she is her relative.
How much does mom earn?
If your mother earns more than the gross income allowed for the tax year in question ($4,400 in 2022), then she is not eligible to be claimed as a dependent by someone else. Generally, she doesn’t count Social Security income, but there are exceptions.
If I can claim mom, how much is it worth?
If your mother qualifies to be your dependent, the tax savings come to you in several ways.
If you are not married on the last day of the year and qualify to claim your parent as a dependent, you are also allowed to file as head of household (instead of single), which means you benefit from lower tax rates than apply to your taxable income. .
Also, if you pay for your mother’s care while you are at work and your mother is unable to care for herself, making Mom a dependent will qualify those expenses for the Dependent Care Tax Credit. Finally, she can write off qualified medical expenses for all of her dependents as an itemized deduction.
While the tests to determine eligibility to qualify a parent as a dependent are numerous, ultimately they are fairly straightforward. Also, in aggregate, the monetary rewards for performing the analysis can be substantial.
Fortunately, TurboTax expedites the process by asking you the key questions to help make this determination for you, saving you not only time, but also money in this case.
Fun #TaxFacts you need to know
10 Responses to “Can I claim my parents as dependents?”
Leave a Reply