By: Paul Nelson, KSL
Caretakers of adult parents might be eligible for a small break on their taxes. But getting this tax relief can be trickier than people may expect.
Tax breaks specifically for people who care for an invalid or disabled senior citizen are few and far between, said Susan Spears, CEO of the Utah Association of CPAs.
“(There's something) called an ‘elder care credit,' and (you can get one) if you're over 65, or you're under 65 and you're permanently or totally disabled or if you've received disability income in 2013 and you haven't reached the mandatory retirement age of your employers retirement program,” she said.
However, not everyone qualifies for this credit and the income requirements are quite strict. Spears said people filing as a single person can't be making more than $17,500 per year and qualify for it.
“It's not a credit that we take a lot, but our elderly citizens need to be aware that that credit is out there,” Spears said.
Of course, as someone's income goes up, tax exemptions begin to phase out. But there is a different possibility caretakers can try to take advantage of.
“If you have elderly parents and you're providing more than half their support and a whole list of other things, you may be able to take them as a dependent exemption on your personal tax return,” she said.
But again, there are a lot of restrictions on who can do this. Spears said someone can only claim a parent as a dependent if the senior citizen completely relies on their child for money. Even if they have a small amount of income, not including Social Security, they can't be claimed as a dependent.
“If they make over $3,900 (per year), they probably won't qualify to be taken as an exemption on your return,” she said.
That works out to only $325 per month, which hardly makes a dent in the expenses some people have while they take care of their parents.
The constantly changing tax laws are why Spears recommends people see a CPA to help them file their taxes.
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