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Normally when a child assists a parent (or anyone, for that matter) and receives money in exchange for that work, it would be counted as taxable income that must be reported on the child's income tax return. However, if there was no pre-arranged agreement to be reimbursed, and no legal obligation of the parent to re-pay the child's efforts via money, then you'd have an argument that the money was indeed a gift and not taxable income. However, to protect yourself against the IRS, you'd be well advised to consult a CPA and have a letter in your file if he or she agrees with this analysis! As you can see, the result varies with the facts, so only a complete review of your particular situation by a CPA would be reliable, here.
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Time to find an Elder Law attorney and tax accountant. Was the house in joint ownership? Is your Mom looking to go on Medicaid at some point? Do you have receipts for expenses? Lots to consider so get some professional advice!
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If the house was hers, then the money from its sale was hers, and now she's passing it over to you. So she has to decide if she's making you a gift, reimbursing your for payments you made on her behalf, or paying you for services. You pay income tax on, well, income -- income is money you are paid for a job (earned income) or money that comes to you through the growth or dividends on investments (unearned income). So if it's some kind of salary then, she became your employer and all the normal employment deductions and income taxes would apply. If it's a reimbursement then you don't have to pay tax on it because a reimbursement is not income to you, but you have to be able to document the expenses being reimbursed. If it's a gift, that's not income either, so again you do not need to pay income tax on it. If the gift is more than $14,000 (in 2013) then your mom, not you, has to file a particular form with her tax return stating how much it was, but neither she nor you has to pay any tax. When people give huge gifts in their lifetime, or have huge estates after their death, or some combination of those two, then there is a tax that takes a bite out of what is given/bequeathed. But we're talking about a combined gift+estate of more than $5,120,000 -- five-plus MILLION. I'm betting you're talking about a number that's less than that. If so, go with a gift, and have your mom file the proper tax forms, and neither of you will pay anything. I'm not a tax professional so double-check all this, but it's all pretty straightforward and it's all written up very clearly in IRS publications that are intended for the general public and available online -- look up publication 950.
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Money for expenses shouldn't be taxed. Can you determine how much that is? Money for care is taxable, I believe, including Social Security - unless it is a gift.

Perhaps she should put in writing how much was gift (for estate purposes) in case her estate exceeds a million dollars or whatever the limit is where you are.

Just some thoughts...
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Maybe some money is for expenses, maybe money for "care" is income?
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Ask the IRS. I believe the tax-free amount is still $10,000 per year, but again, ask the IRS (when a new and honest person is at its helm)!
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