What kinds of caregiving expenses can I deduct from my taxes?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

what can I deduct from my taxes for unpaid care, housing, Dr. rides, paid activities (bowling), meds, sitters, hair cut/ nail care from my taxes. Mom's care is starting to tap my savings. As well as my life.

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

You can deduct expenses that were paid by you directly to a medical service provider for your mother's care. Based on the expenses you listed, the medications and sitters (assuming they were assisting your mother) are deductible. In order to claim these deductions, your mother must satisfy the following criteria: 1. She lived with you the entire years as a member of your household. 2. She is a US citizen or a legal resident of the US, Canada or Mexico. 3. You provide over half of her support. To determine this, you should use fair market value for rent plus the actual cost of other goods and services you provide. If you are using her social security to cover some of these costs, you must account for that by offsetting it against the expenses.

If she meets these criteria and her taxable gross income is no more than $3,650/year, you can take a $3,650 dependent exemption. (Social security is usually not counted in taxable income.) For you to claim medical expense deductions, the total of your family's medical expenses, including your mother's, must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Only the expenses over that amount count.

You can also use the standard mileage deduction for medical transportation, e.g. to doctor's appointments. Prior to July 1, 2011, the rate was 16.5 cents/mile. After July 1, 2011, the rate is 23.5 cents/mile.