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Finding caregiver tax deductions

December 15, 2010|By Nancy Turney

Q. Are there any tax deductions or credits that I would be eligible for due to caring for my husband who has Alzheimer's?

Yes, there are. Consult your tax person for the details, but here are some guidelines.

Deductible care-giving costs may include:

•Medical care, including nursing care;

•Transportation essential to medical care;

•In-home care, such as physical therapy;

•Personal-care items, such as disposable briefs and special foods;

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•Nursing-home care;

•Assisted living or other residential care;

•Home modifications such as grab bars or wheel-chair ramps.

A caregiver can take federal income tax deductions only if the person with dementia has been certified as chronically ill. This certification must have been made by a licensed health-care practitioner within the last 12 months.

Long-term care services must be given under a prescribed plan of care. Be sure to keep records about your payment for services, and save certifications and plans of care.

If you paid someone to care for a dependent so you could work or look for work, you may be able to reduce your tax by claiming the "Child and Dependent Care Credit" on your federal income-tax return.

The credit is a percentage of the amount of work-related child- and dependent-care expenses you paid to a care provider. The credit can be up to 35% of your qualifying expenses, depending on your income. There are eligibility requirements for receiving this credit.

California has additional tax deductions or tax credits to provide financial relief to caregivers. These tax programs build on the federal tax credit, which reduces the amount of income taxes a family owes.

When filing your state tax form, you can help fund Alzheimer's disease research by making a donation with your return. There is a check-off box on your return.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to lcnews@valleysun.net or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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