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She has no other relatives and ls very demanding... she used to have help to cook and clean so although she ls in great health thinks it's beneath her. She ls low on funds or l would put her in lovely assisted living. But l am not left in the best money situation so can l claim her on taxes tho she's not related?

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Also, you've said recent but did your husband pass in 2013? If so, you can file as married and take him is an exemption this year, unless you remarry during the year. lf he passed in 2012, same rules apply for that filing year. Even
though you probably already filed for 2012, if you did your own taxes and miss that point, you can always file an amended return.
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No, it's $3800, not including social security. A dependent isn't allowed to have much income at all.

Yes, you should get professional help with this, but start by looking at the link to the IRS website.

If your income is very low, claiming her might not help you, if you don't pay a lot of taxes yourself.
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Jinx4740 - did you mean $38,000 for 2012? I would check with a reliable tax attorney or accountant to be absolutely sure of the legalities of this situation. With the IRS and Social Security Admin. you don't want to fall through the cracks because of one little step that was missed or paperwork not complete.
You are to be blessed to be taking care of your MIL and don't let her "bully" you with her demands. You need to stay healthy in order to be of help to anyone.
Keep us posted. xxxooo
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You've said stays with "us", and who's the us? Jinx is correct and there is a worksheet but you can find online to make sure that you provide 50 percent of her support and you can calculate where her claimable income goes. For tax purposes your mother in law is like your mother. And that is true even if one's spouse passes away or there is a divorce. So the qualifiers are better for parent. Perhaps when you said us, there is a child still at home? If so and the child qualifies you, you would be filing as head of household, which is the same as you would file if your mother(-in-law) qualifies you.
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If she lives with you, and you provide support, you may be able to claim her. There are complicated rules. Your Mother-in-law can be a "qualifying Relative" who does not have to live with you all year long. Her gross income must be less than $3800 in 2012. That number goes up every year. Normally, her social security income doesn't count as gross income.

You have to calculate her "total support", including food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental care, recreation, transportation, and sim­ilar necessities. Figure out what the "fair market value" to rent her room is. How much of her money is spent to support her, and how much of your money - including the rent that you don't charge her - is spent to support her? I'm pretty sure you can't count the value of the care you provide for her, but if you pay a friend or child to granny-sit, you could count that.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf Page 17 and after. If you have a specific question, "hug" me and I will try to answer.
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