Tax Tips for Caregivers

Jan 30, 2020

Tax season is upon us and it can be difficult to keep everything straight when you are a caregiver. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few tips for you to keep in mind when managing this tax season.

You can claim your parent as a dependent

Taking care of your parent can take a lot of emotional stress. It can also drain your finances. If you’re caring for your parent and they meet certain requirements, you can claim them as a dependent and reduce the amount of taxes you are paying. 

Of course, there are a number of stipulations you need to meet to determine whether your situation qualifies:

  • You (and your spouse if filing jointly) are not a dependent of another taxpayer.
  • Your parent, if married, doesn't file a joint return, unless your parent and his or her spouse file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid.
  • Your parent is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • You paid more than half of your parent's support for the calendar year.
  • Your parent's gross income for the calendar year was less than $4200.
  • Your parent isn't a qualifying child of another taxpayer.
  • If your parent is your foster parent, they must have lived with you all year as a member of your household.

Keep all caregiving-related receipts and a written log

You don’t want to miss out on any deductions, so make sure you keep track of all your caregiving-related expenses. Being organized and keeping a written log always helps the tax process move more smoothly. It also comes in handy if you are ever audited in the future. 

Qualifying as head of household

Similar to claiming your parent as a dependent, you could qualify as the head of household when caring for your parent. This is of course assuming you meet the requirements:

  • You're unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
  • You can claim your parent as a dependent.
  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for your parent for the tax year. Your dependent parent doesn't have to live with you.

If helping an older adult with their taxes, speak with AARP

AARP helps people like yourself prepare their taxes because they know how important it is and how stressful it can be. Internal Revenue Service-certified volunteers prepare basic federal and state tax returns free of charge for low and moderate income taxpayers with special attention to those 60 and over. 

Tax-Aid takes place during the income tax season (February 1st through April 15th) at specially scheduled times at branches of the library, local community/senior centers, and other agencies. All sites require appointments. 

Assistance may be available to homebound individuals (elderly and handicapped). Homebound clients must call the site closest to them and ask about having someone come to their house.