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Tackling Tax Season
Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
There are some things to be aware of,
however, as a caregiver. First, whatever extent medical
or long-term insurance covers these things, that level
of care can't be deducted.
The loved one also must be chronically
ill and a health care provider (licensed) has to
actually prescribe a plan for care. Many people may want
to arrange for the care on their own, but if their loved
one is not monitored and care not prescribed, there is
no tax benefit allowed.
Chronically ill is defined as when a
person is unable to perform at least two of the six
activities of daily living: eating, toileting,
transferring, bathing, dressing or continence. Someone
who has cognitive impairment and requires a good amount
of supervision also meets that standard.
An idea worth noting about situations
where a loved one is living in a facility of some sort
is: if they are there ONLY for living, and not medically
induced reasons, only medical expenses are deductible.
If they are living there for primarily medical reasons,
the service and housing expenses count toward the total.
Tax rules are complex either way. Itís
important for caregivers to consult a tax accountant to
truly take advantage and have knowledge of the intricate
Here are some tips, as offered by
Michigan's Caregiver Resource Network:
receipts for medical expenses, property taxes,
charitable contributions, prior tax preparation expense,
income, bank statements, etc.
A caregiver is already on limited time, so doing things
last minute will increase chances of mistakes and
missing potential credit and/or deductions available.
The IRS offers a plethora of free information to help
educate caregivers on regulations, and provide tax
forms. Teletax Service (1-800-829-4477) offers recorded
messages and the IRS staffed help line is available at
1-800-829-1040. Information can also be found at
A caregiver must know the dependent guidelines, and make
sure to take those credits when they can.
Local libraries and post offices carry tax forms and
information. Many local organizations also offer free
advice. Ask at your county or state aging resource