As the tables turn and children become the caregiver for their parents, and as the senior care expenses begin adding up, family caregivers often ask if Uncle Sam offers a tax deduction similar to the tax deduction for child care when you efile each year.
The answer is, yes, if you are able to claim the elderly relative as a dependent (your parent does not have to live with you but you must be providing for more than half of their financial support, which includes food and transportation). If you and your parent meet the Internal Revenue Service's criteria, you will be able to deduct up to $3,400.00 from your taxable income (for year 2007). Social Security benefits are not counted in most cases.
In addition, the Internal Revenue Service lets you deduct medical costs as long as they are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This may include the medical (and dental) expenses of everyone listed on your tax return, including your spouse and dependents. You may be able to include some of the expenses paid for a parent, along with expenses for a caregiver.
Keep in mind medical expenses include travel expenses to and from medical treatments, along with uninsured treatments, such as hearing aides and false teeth.
If more than one child participates in the financial support of the parent, some families rotate the deduction to a different child each year.
Please do consult your accountant and review the specifics on the IRS publication guides (IRS Publication 502 covers medical expense deductions and IRS Publication 554 covers dependent care deductions).