Claiming Parents As Dependents On Income Taxes

As more and more Baby Boomers are caring for elderly parents, the question often arises: “Can I claim my parent(s) as dependents on my taxes?” The answer to that is, “It depends.”

The IRS does allow parents to be claimed as dependents if certain requirements are met. The IRS always has requirements.

To meet the support requirements necessary to claim your parent as a dependent on your tax return, you must cover 51% or more of their support costs. These costs include food, housing or lodging expenses, clothing, and medical services and/or equipment costs.

If support for your parent was given by a group of individuals or family members, you may want to sign a Multiple Support Declaration form which would allow a single person in the group to claim your parent as a dependent, thus giving the tax break to a single person.

In addition, the parent must be what the IRS terms a “Qualifying Relative.” This means that the person you’re caring for can be your parent, an in-law, or even a grandparent. However, they must be related to you biologically, by adoption, or through marriage.

While there are specific residency requirements, the parent, in-law, grandparent, or other relative does not have to live with you all year. However, they must meet one of the following:

  • Be a legal US Citizen
  • Be a U.S. National
  • Be a U.S. Resident Alien
  • Be a Resident of Canada or Mexico

One Last Requirement:

If you want to claim your parent as a dependent on your tax return, you cannot be eligible as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. In fact, you cannot be eligible as a dependent even without being claimed.

If you meet all of the requirements, you’ll be happy to receive an additional $4,050 tax exemption on your return. In addition the IRS allows you to include your dependent parent’s medical expenses when calculating your medical deductions, and you may also be able to claim the Dependent Care Credit if your parent needs assistance while you’re at work or away.

Have a question? Contact Barry Fowler.

Your comments are always welcome!

Barry Fowler is licensed to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is a longstanding member of several tax industry professional organizations including the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), National Association of Tax Preparers (NATP), Texas Society of Enrolled Agents (TSEA), and the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS). With experience in the tax and finance industry spanning over twenty years, Fowler’s expertise includes tax resolution, personal financial planning, tax return preparation, financial statements, and general ledger bookkeeping. He has been instrumental in helping hundreds of people resolve complex tax issues with the IRS.

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