Claiming my mother as a dependent on Income Taxes.

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my sister is currently living with my 80 yr. old mother. She is on the deed of the house, but my mother has Life Time Estate. My brother, sister, and I were the deed holders, but then my brother and I agreed to transfer deed to my sisters name, so that in the event of my mother's death, she would own the home. We also did this with the agreement that since she (my sister) would be living rent free, it would be her responsible to pay all utilities on said property. Now she is wanting to claim my mother as a dependent on her fed. income and state tax return. Can she do this legally? My response to this is "no", as she does not own the residence at this time, even though she is on the deed, my mother "Has Life Time Estate". Not only that, but in fact, it is my sister who at this time is benefitting the most, as she does not pay any rent....just utilities. Does anyone have an answer to this question?


If your sister is taking 24/7 care of your mom, pays all the bills and she claims all expenses including her social security, I think she can.
I think you all should consult a CPA for the best legal advice to this question.

A different perspective of this is, your sister is at your moms beck and call. She is the one that does all the cooking, cleaning, assisting of mom, grocery shopping, Dr. appointments, yard work, getting by on 3 hours of sleep, keeping mom entertained, and doing all of this while not being able to live her own life, so everyone can be comforted knowing that mom is being well cared for. Free rent is not really any compensation. I know as I live at my moms house. I also hold the deed for mom and she has a life estate. I do own my own home as well, and pay all utilities for both homes. I pay for her cell phone, and all her extras. This is no picnic. I can't talk to anyone without her asking what we are doing, who am I talking too, am I talking about her. I can't just be spontaneous anymore. If I want a sundae at 10 pm, tough. I can't leave because mom can not be left alone. I have to plan my entire life around her needs and wants. I have to assess her moods, trying to figure out if she is just in a bad mood, or has the dementia resurfaced. Are her meds still effective or do we need to re-assess them. I won't even go into the lack of intimacy with my husband, the lack of attending my children s events. Etc.

So, on behalf of the other full time caregivers "benefiting" from taking care of an aging parent, there is not enough money to cover all that we are giving up to attend to the needs of our parents. All we have is the warm fuzziness we get when our parents remember we are their children and give us a genuine smile and a big hug. I hope you get this upset over your moms care and condition and not just focus on money.
Dearest Sanity:

Almost dropped my dentures after reading your comment. It was practical, objective, sensitive, and extremely supportive. Considering all the sacrifices you're still making it amazes me how you've managed to put your mind and heart in sync to avoid losing your marbles. (Well, not all of them.) Life is a constant learning process, so I'm looking forward to your future comments.

-- ED
Well perhaps, you need to hear the full story....I too have been a caregiver for 4 people in my family. So you don't need to lecture me on that....I have moved 5 times in 2 years to accomodate the needs of my aging dying father, my mother when he died and for 2 years, and for my dying sister before those 2. In addition to that, I also took care of this pls. spare me the woes...I know all too well about them. Now let me share my sister and what she does.....BASICALLY ....ABSOLUTELY VERY DARN LITTLE!!!!! She is a Nurse, Wow...sounds great right? You would think she would clean the house....but guess what...she does nothing........once in a blue moon she will cook a meal. Yes, she works as a nurse in a State Run Nursing Home as a supervisor....makes plenty of money....and works every shift she can for the Money....when she gets home after working those shifts.....she sleeps all day mother hardly sees her. 2 years ago, shortly after moving in..My sister desides she needs another animal in the house, so she gets a yorkie terrior. She is never home to take care of the dog, so my 80 yr. old mother has to do it....they have 7 cats in the house, guess I probably don't need to tell you how the house smells. My mother has to clean the litter boxes, and makes sure the cats get fed. My sister gets paid twice a month....excellent pay, esp. after working all those double shifts....last year her yrly. income was 98,000 (we know because she has my husband do her taxes.) Funny though, 2 days after getting paid....she is always broke...and borrows more money from my mother to hold her over till her next pay day. Yes, when my mother has to go to the doctor, my sister takes her. My mother gives her money for the gas, ALWAYS PAYS FOR EVERY MEAL THEY EAT OUT......AND even gives my sister extra money for other things. 4 YEARS ago, after my dad husband and I lived with my mother for a year and a half....we renovated the house from top to bottom, had the wood floors all resanded, painted every room in the house, and cleaned up years of neglect. Now that my sister has moved back home....the house reaks of cat urine. Her pupply poops and pees all over the place. Yes, sorry....I do believe it is my sister benefitting in this case. WHAT would it cost her to have her own place? Rent, utilities, animal caregiver, someone to do her ironing, check to make sure the house doesn't burn down, due to her leaving cigarette butts up in her filthy room, etc., and to eat dinner out 2 to 3 times a week? PLEASE DON'T TELL ME ABOUT CAREGIVING....I HAVE DONE MANY, MANY TIMES, AND I BESIDES HAVE 2 DIVORCED DAUGHTERS, who have also needed our help, as well as grandchildren we have watched (with lots of love I might add) I make sure I have my mother with me as often as possible, and when she husband makes breakfast for her every morning.....she gets to relax here, sleep as long she wants....and we completely dote on her. As my mothers power of attorney, I have seen to it that my mother has everything she needs and more, and if my mom would agree to it, I would have her move here. DON'T BE TOO QUICK TOO JUDGE ONE UNTIL YOU HEAR THE WHOLE STORY....I was just asking a question, and a valid one I might add. THANKS FOR NOTHING. By the way, my sister has enjoyed many vacations (transportation fully paid for by guess who?) HAWAII, NEW MEXICO, and is about to go on another 10 day cruise the end of April. I will be with my mom, while she goes. GO FIGURE........SURE wish MY HUSBAND AND I COULD afford to go away for a 10 day cruise.
You should call an attorney, the local area on aging and adult protective services. If you are POA that gives you the right to step in and question the living condition of your mom, it is your duty to do so.

As for the rest of what you said, your comment reeks more of resentment of money then cat urine. I stand by my comment. Feel free to disregard further commentary from me. God bless.
God Bless you too.....Must be nice to be so "holy".....

Of course there is resentment...that my sister is so selfish, does nothing, takes more than she gives and that still is not enough ....however, sounded more like you resented your duties to your Mom much more. Can't have an ice cream at 10:00 because of Mom.....oh dear! But apparently you have time to sit on this thing......and JUDGE OTHERS. Obviously it is you who needs more than this site, you should contact a therapist to help you realize that you too one day will be old, and need help like your Mom. I only went on here, to ask 1 lousy question.

In all the time, I helped my 83 yr. old father, my dying sister, and my mom....I never complained about any of that. In fact, after sleeping in a chair in the hospital for my dad....he woke up one time at 4:00 in the morning...needing me to do something for him.....and he looked at me and said "gee its 4 am and I woke you up to help me and you have a smile on your face...thats wonderful!" I would not have changed one thing I ever did for any of them, and would do it over in a heartbeat, for I know one day I will be old, and always believed that I should treat someone the way I would wish to be treated. As for being resentful of money, that could not be any further from the truth. My big resentment is arrogance.....such as you have given in your last statement, and the arrogance of my Sister to allow my 80 yr. old mother to wait on her.
Sorry that I offend you. Like I said in the second post. Call an Attorney, your local area on aging and adult protective services and a CPA. They can assist you in all of your concerns.

Good luck and God Bless.
22 helpful answers
Let's go back to the original question, shall we?

Whether or not someone can claim another as a dependent on the tax return is determined only by facts about whether or not she is providing more than 1/2 of the MONETARY support for the individual to be claimed for the calendar year in question. Also, the individual being cared for can not have gross annual income above a threshold level which is $3500 (in addition to social security). If these tests are met, then you can claim the dependent for a $3500 credit which reduces your taxable income by $3500. If you are in the 25 percent tax bracket, that would mean you'd cut your taxes by about $800 for that year. To determine whether your sister provided more than half of your mom's support, you'd need to include the value of your mother's housing, utilities, food, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Once it is determined that your mother can be claimed as your sister's dependent, she can also claim other expenses as deductions, such as the travel expense to get to the doctors appointments.

There are lots of nuances in this, so it is important that you consult with a tax professional before anyone claims your mother as a dependent.

Good luck to you.

-- Sheri

I can almost feel your anger, and my heart goes out to you. But lashing out and making other caregivers in this forum the repository of your anger is unacceptable. On the other hand, sharing your experiences can help others going through the same and don't know what to do. Please review your comments before posting them, as they might be deleted. Still, I'd like to hear from you often.

-- ED

I certainly hope that judgement you have just made is not directed toward me, as it is Ms. "Sanity" who has decided to be my judge and jury when she knows not one thing about me, other than the original question that I asked. The question was asked actually on behalf of my sister, who, incidently looks to my husband and I for everything as well. I indicated to my sister that somehow I would not think it would be "legal" to claim my mother, as she certainly is not providing for more than half of my mother's living expenses. My mother has "Life Time Estate", buys most of the food in the house, including paying for all dinner out for herself and my sister. Her medical payments and prescriptions above what the insurance pays for, comes out of mom's funds. She pays for gas when my sister takes her to the doctor as well for the lunch they consume that day. In addition, she pays at least half or more for any improvements they have made or yard work that gets done. She buys her own clothing, does her own laundry, cleans house the best she can, takes out the trash, and prepares her own meals during the day. She is still able to care for herself by bathing, and even colors and fixes her hair and nails. In addition to that, my mother is "caregiver" to my sister's dog and cats, by feeding them and making sure the litter boxes get cleaned out. My mother does ironing for my sister's uniforms and many times finishes the laundry for my sister and hangs up her clothes. If anything, it almost seems that my mother, if she were to file a return, should claim my sister as a dependant (Of course, thats not going to happen, I am just making a point). I have always gotten along with my sister and brother (lives far away from Mom). I love all of them and even though I feel my sister takes big advantage sometimes, there has never been a confrontation between us. However, I do feel, since my sister brought this up to me, that she should consider the legal aspect here, and that is why I initially came to this ask the question. I do not believe that I lashed out at anyone, it seems to me that Ms "Sanity" seemed to have some problem with my question, and decided to put in her two cents on a situation she knows nothing about. Under those circumstances, I did/do feel inclined to defend myself.

Lets get back to my initial question regarding ability to claim my mom as a dependent shall we?????????? The only kind and responsible response given to me is from Sheri.....THANK YOU SHERI......YOU ANSWERED THE QUESTION RESPECTFULLY AND THOROUGHLY, and I very much appreciate it. Will pass this info on to my "overworked" sister. Again, Sheri, thank you for your time....also thanks for not judging me......

By the way, if this is a support site for caregivers, I have to tell you, my experience for the most part here (EXCEPT FROM SHERI)
has been most definitely a NEGATIVE ONE.
for the ones that turns around and stabs you in the back , i learn to ingore that person and dont answer it , cuz i ve had my back stab uhh lets say my heart stab , it hurt me so much all cuz i said was to hug ur mom and that person was so dead agaisnt it ! said my commets wasnt good enough uhh hug your momma . so whatever !!!
just look for the ones thats helpful and be so it . the ones has an attiude just forget em , theyre just bitter ,
there is good caregivers and yet theres a bad ones . just keep your eyes open for the good ones , cuz i have found one and we chit chat thru emails shes my angel !!

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