Tax break for those caring for family members 90 years old and over.

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Are there tax breaks for caregivers caring for family members 90 years old or over? If not, I feel it should be written into the tax code. The Boomer generation and the one before that are comprised of a large amount of the population for the first time in American history. It outnumbers most if not all of "baby booms" since 1964. Tax breaks and huge amount of tax-supported programs are available to take care of minors. It's time to have acknowledgement and support for those who caregive for elders age 90 or more. I pick that age because if you look at parent-to-child age span -- a 90 year old will likely have an adult child of 65 years old -- that's Social Security age in itself! Those persons are trying to take care of themselves AND another elder? This is not fair physically and financially. There are not enough state programs, there is not enough Social Security/Medicare right now to help the aged care for the aged - and it's only going to get worse unless some improvements are done. I see many on this site who say they have sibs, but the sibs do not help. Make it a law to have a person who has a parent 90 years old or more declare this on their taxes just like a person would be required to declare they are responsible for a minor. Each elder's adult child would need to help either in-person with chores or to help financially and document it to get the tax break. For one thing, I think that documenting on taxes would help bring awareness to the "top heavy" population trend, and it would get the burden off of just one sib as sole caregiver.

I'm an only child, so I know what this is like to do alone. I've been at it for 20+ years. My parent is in her 90's. I have to put forth the efforts but do not even get to have a say-so because the elder is deemed competent. That's a tricky rule that "kicks the can down the road" and it's hard because the elder is beginning to have the needs issues of a small child. Why can't I be acknowledged that I am caregiving for someone who cannot care for themselves? If I document the efforts and money spent, could I write it off on taxes? Give persons in our age group (55+ years old) a break. What do you all think? Isn't it time? Most of us cannot afford a fancy financial advisor, so we muddle on, day to day, hoping for relief.

So, I ask you all out there -- is there a tax break in place already, even if you don't have "guardianship," and if not, who could I (we) contact to put this into a tax law? What parts of this do those of you all out there like or disagree with?


There is a tax break on one's income tax... you can declare your parent a *dependent* if you contribute more than 50% of their care. And it doesn't matter the age of the parent.

As per the Turbo Tax website, "you must have provided more than half of your parent's support during the tax year in order to claim them as a dependent. When determining the monetary value of the amount of support you provide, you need to consider several factors.

Calculate the fair market value of the room your parent occupies in your home. Ask yourself how much rent you could charge a tenant for the space.

Next, consider the cost of food that you provide. Don't forget to include utilities, medical bills and general living expenses that you also pay. Compare the value of support you provide with any income, including Social Security, that your parent receives to determine whether you meet the support requirement. The amount of support you provided must exceed your parent's income by at least one dollar."
Hi *Freqflyer* -- thank you for showing me some of the tax rules to look for. My post probably looked like a "rant" but it was intended to bring to attention the issue that a large group of us now have responsibility of an elder, much like our days of having care of a minor that I'd like to see some acknowledgement of. I'd like to see tax laws that now require a taxpayer to list their parent if the adult child is of retirement age themselves. Make it a law that all the elder's children list a claim of responsibility -- Social Security #'s will verify this, just like they do for minors. My heart goes out to the person who takes on the responsibility and has siblings who don't help. Just like I mentioned in the above post, each should contribute something and then be able to write it off on taxes. There is a generation of us who are being drained in every way and we have little left for our own retirement years.

The laws have rules for making biological parents responsible until a child is of age. The same should apply to the topside of the generations now. If you have any thoughts, let me know. I'm probably going to write to a congressperson about this at some point, but the insights on this site help with perspective.
Best to you! You help keep our caregiver "boat" afloat!
Actually, there are some tax breaks for people over 65 and blind. Taxpayer gets an additional exemption when calculating taxable income. More deductible medical expenses (over 7.5% threshhold, not over 10% as calculated for folks under 65) if taxpayer itemizes. A good tax preparer (AARP, IRS sponsor free or low cost prep) can help you identify how to minimize a tax bill.
Separate issue:
I do have a problem with the idea of holding adult children responsible for the expenses of elders related to them. Strictly from a logistics standpoint: You would overwhelm social services at the state level and the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies at the federal level. What determines the person chosen as "responsible"? only children or do stepchildren or grandchildren count? what about children left behind in divorce or abandoned by parents? what about adopted children-are they responsible to both biological and adoptive parents? what about children that may have been abused or dysfunctionally shut out of a family? What time frame are you responsible for - children are not your responsibility past 18 in the majority of places. What if the elder lives 30+ years in this condition? What if the elder recklessly spent their money over 40-50-60 years and chose not to save for their later years? People are screaming about ACA/Obamacare now - are we going to require that each person purchase Long Term Care to protect people facing care for their parents?
It is tragic that so many children abandon their elder parents when they are infirm or leave care to a single sibling. It is equally tragic that many parents financially or emotionally abandon children in divorce or narcissistic self-absorption.
Your efforts would be better put to use in promoting the legislation of quality affordable assisted living and nursing homes, affordable and accessible health care, reduction of fraud and elder abuse, and building a healthy society where this ethic of the value of caregiving is promoted.
If legally making a biological parent responsible for expenses and care worked without a hitch, we would not have a child support enforcement system or collection agencies for deadbeat parents:)
I would like to see "Elder Day Care" deduction on taxes similar to what is allowed of parents who put their child into day care. Bet that would help more elders to get out of the house and be with people of their own generation... thus allow a grown child who is caring for them to be back in the workforce earning $$$ for their own retirement.
Gosh I don't know if we want to make the tax code even MORE complex. It's bad enough as it is...and just think of the abuses of a deduction like this.

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