My disabled friend needed dentures and I paid for them, could I claim the expense as a tax deduction on my 2013 taxes. - AgingCare.com

My disabled friend needed dentures and I paid for them, could I claim the expense as a tax deduction on my 2013 taxes.

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She has always been poor and did not have $ access to dental care, then repeated cancer treatments, now three teeth have broken off--they were needed and not just cosmetic. I am not her caregiver, but a friend.

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Thanx Jinx, I posted at number 3 of this thread and my presumption, possibly incorrect, was that this friend didn't live with her just because it didn't sound like she did.

As another tax preparer, I would remind that if she's not a spouse, a child or a qualifying relative, if the friend didn't live in all year, nothing else matters, as Jinx has said.

I would also like to clarify a few things however. One is that IF the friend lived in (passing the Residency test), she would have to have made less than the $3,800 Jinx mentioned in specified income (the income test), then the taxpayer wanting to claim the dependent would have to provide 50 PERCENT OR MORE toward support (the Support test - see the Support Test worksheet in the appropriate year's IRS Publication 501 - the worksheet is straightforward and how to figure the percentage of support, however the data meeting to be gathered is very labor intensive, just so you know that you would have to pull together a year's worth of facts and figures to make this work, almost like you need to know in advance that you're going to do this). BTW, the information for the other required tests are also defined in publication 501.

Now, if the friend were to pass the tests so far, the taxpayer could claim her as a dependent. If the taxpayer is married, she would probably be filing as "married filing jointly" with a dependent. If single, she could file as head of household because of the dependent and that would put her in a better tax bracket.

But now for any benefit from the dentures, the taxpayer have to be able to itemize deductions. Dentures are considered a medical expense so you have to look to IRS Publication 502 for medical and dental allowable expenses. It is ALL medical and dental expenses for ALL legitimate members of the household that are calculated on the medical expenses of Schedule A. AFTER you calculate these expenses over and above what insurance paid, that total is subject to an exclusion of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), (for example, this is always the last number on page 1 of your 1040 - which is also the same number carried forward to the top line of page 2). The exclusion is used because the federal government expects everyone to pay a certain amount of their own medical and dental expenses. As I stated before, the majority of people do not spend more than the excluded amount, so the medical expenses tend to zero out at this point.

However, if there is a positive amount, it is added into the other expenses on Schedule A (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, etc.) and then THAT total is subject to a further exclusion of 2% of the AGI.

There is no possible way lMO that this could become a charitable donation at this stage of the situation (and I remain unconvinced that it ever could). S person can not individually be a tax exempt charitable organization 501(c)(3). Unless MonkeyBaby has had this friend living with her, has enough unreimbursed medical expenses to exceed the exclusions, and has enough personal expenses to itemize, this expense of dentures is only going to be able to be treated as a non deductible gift. These answers maybe they'll uble to someone else who might be eligible to take the deduction so it is worth being thorough and the answer.
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Speaking as a former tax preparer, the non-relative must live with you the entire year, January through December. They must have less than $3,800 income (as of 2012), and you must provide more than half of their support. This would allow you to claim them as a dependent. In addition, the money you spent must be more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

If you can claim her as a dependent, that is worth doing, You can't "claim" the dental work unless you itemize deductions. Doesn't seem fair, but that's how it is.

If the situation is borderline, check with the IRS before January, when they are still answering their phones, or ask a professional. Many would answer that question for free as a courtesy, because no one wants to pay for a service - tax prep - that won't save them money.

Also try this website: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Interactive-Tax-Assistant-(ITA)-1
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IF that friend is LIVING WITH you under your roof, you MIGHT, if they are your actual dependent--one must be paying for half or more of the elder's support costs, and all that needs to be documented.
IF that person is a charity [like, a 501c3 ?], you MIGHT be able to claim it as a DONATION--but probably not.

IT's REALLY hard to claim deductions, even when they're legit, because there are so many qualifying hoops to jump thru.

But you could ask a Tax person to advise you, when given your particulars.
OR, you could contact your local Area Agency on Aging, to ask them to point you to someone who can answer that for you for sure.
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Yeah, I'm afriad the naysayers are right on this one... I couldn't even take my daughters medical expenses off once she moved out and started filing on her own
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No. It's been tried before.
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Well, consider you have just earned another stripe on your wings into heaven. All dental work needs to be for you or your family.
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It's a gift, not an expense.
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No
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Edit - Until LAWS ARE changed...
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No, you would not be able to as medical and dental expenses are only allowed as a deduction item for you, your spouse or a qualifying dependent. Even if this person fit those requirements, you would have to itemize deductions in order to possibly benefit.

This is covered in IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses. Dentures could normally be deducted as a medical expense on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. The amount spent is subject to a percentage exclusion of your adjusted gross income (AGI) within the medical section. With Insurance these days, most peoples medical expenses do not exceed the exclusion, so the amount is zeroed out at this point.

If the re-calculated amount is greater than zero, it is then added to the totals of the other sections on Schedule A, and that total is then subject to another exclusion of a percentage of AGI.

There might have been one possibility, but even if it would have worked, it would have needed to be addressed before, so it's too late now. I'm including it here now in the hopes that people facing your same circumstances could do some investigation that might save them some money.

There are charitable organizations that help people with dentures. If you could have donated to one of them, you would have been able to deduct it from your taxes but charitable deductions are again a section of Schedule A, so again you'd have to itemize and the total would be subject to an exclusion of a percentage of AGI.

But there's potentially a catch. it's possible that IRS regulations and the charitable organization's charter don't allow direct assistance. That is, YOU can't donate your money to "the denture assistance society" (a fictitious generic name as an exemplar) and specify that it's for "MY friend Jane". charitable organizations are approved federally, but their charters are through the state whose regulations vary, and it is these papers that are submitted for approval.

Considering the longer life expectancies, the greater numbers of aging people with the Boomers becoming seniors and difficult economy we've been functioning in for some time, there are going to be a lot of people who need financial help in the medical arena. Not just dentures but even nursing homes in long term care. If it were more attractive or beneficial for friends to be able to help, it could take some of the pressure off of the government requirement to do so. Until larger changed to allow a more liberal approach for deducting financial aid, the government will have to continue picking up the tab and people will have to continue waiting, waiting, waiting until their applications are approved.
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