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My mother lives with me & I am her total care giver 24/7, for which she pays me well, (at her instance ) as an alternative to a nursing home. I take care of all expenses with the exception of her medical needs, for which she has insurance.
She is legally blind, has limited hearing & uses a walker. Originally her payment to me was at the "gifting limit" but as she now requires more help she has raised the amount (again at her instance). Do I have to declare it as income & can I deduct the gifting allowance from the reported amount? And can she declare it on her tax return as an expense?

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To the people implying that being paid for being a caregiver is taking advantage, I say shame on you. I care for my parents full time, in their home, and so I'm unable to hold down another job. If I didn't do it they would be paying as much as $300/day for 24 hour care. I pay myself, and the family friend who gives me a couple of days off each week, $100/day. I have sacrificed a lucrative career to do this, but do so gladly to know they are getting quality, loving care. you shouldn't be so judgmental.
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Ia2868, Some questions before the commentary......Do you have DPOA from her, appointing only you? Do you prepare her Tax Return? Do you prepare your own Tax Return? I would seek advice from a CPA on the Form "Care of the Elderly". Do you each have your own checking accounts (separate)? Some accountants do not charge for a consultation, only when they actually file your Return. Comment: Hopefully you have access to her deposits, such as her S.S. checks and her pension checks. Good Luck.
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Nojoy, I agree with you 100% and your Mom is getting one on one care which is priceless! I am taking care of my Mom also in my home but her money ran out after a few years. She is still with me, we are starting 8 years now. Our CPA is the one who told us how to do things financially when Mom had the money also. He said 8 hours a day and after thats its daughterly duties thru the night. His average pay was $15 an hour, 8 hours a day. Hang in there, its such a long road.
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She cannot deduct what she pays you as an expense. Only skilled nursing services are tax-deductible. You will, of course, want to check this with your tax preparer, but I believe I am correct.

If your mom is exceeding the gifting limit, then she should be withholding Social Security from your check, and you should be reporting it. You say, "I take care of all expenses," which, I assume, is out of the money mom pays you. Have HER pay those expenses instead of passing that money on to YOU to pay them. They aren't deductible to you, and you would be taxed on the money she gives you to cover them.

You're in murky waters. If you ever anticipate your mom needing Medicaid -- in other words, if there's any question that she might not be able to pay for a nursing home out of her own funds, you really need the advice of an elder law attorney. Otherwise, all the money she's paying you would be considered a gift and would cause Medicaid to make you, in effect, pay that money back.

If you deducted the gift allowance from the money she's paying you and were ever audited, you can be sure you would have to pay taxes and penalty on that deduction. I believe that might even be considered fraud. ??

Talk to a CPA and an elder law attorney. It's very important that you have your i's dotted and t's crossed when it comes to your mom paying you for her care. Lots of ramifications. It's a very specialized area. And tricky to get it right.
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Suemac, the wonderful part is that she is aware and grateful. So many caregivers here would keep them forever, but the patient loses reality, becomes very critical and sometimes delusional. So if you reach that point, when mom throws things at you and curses you and thinks you are the enemy, you will understandably forgive us. It can happen soon, or not at all.
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If you set yourself up as a business, caring for your parent, I suspect that the $14,000 (that figure used only because it' s been used before, but it looks like it came from the IRS gifting limit), could be declared on a Schedule C as income, and all the food expenses, his bedroom space, all his Depends, car trip to the doctors, etc etc all those could be deducted as business expenses, and in the end, you would not have made any money, so then you wouldn't be paying any tax on this "income." Just an idea---I am not a tax attorney (but I am a small business owner).
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I agree that educating yourself regarding the Tax laws/rules is advantageous to you both. When informed, better decisions can be made as well as a 'Plan for Mom' and her estate. I am speaking from experience. Find an Estate Attorney, develop a plan, and be realistic with living accommodations needed. The focus is the best care for your parent, which Is livable for the adult kids taking care of them. Remember: The parent's Estate is for their care and best interest. (Not to skimp in later years and leave it to family members.)
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S6PEREZ: POA has nothing to do with tax consequences on either the Return, Form 1040, of the mother or the daughter. My personal thought is that the POA, which ceases with the death of the donor, should not be the same person who is the Executor of the deceased's estate.
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Thanks for all the helpful answers. I'm going to go with my first instinct....see an accountant. I definitely want to do this correctly & above board & not have to worry about it. All the input from everyone has helped me know what questions to ask.I'm glad I found this forum & will probably use it more, if for nothing else, a place to vent when the going gets rough.
Thanks again.
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First of all, do you have a caregivers contract in place? Second, you taking care of her is medical If she cannot live alone, doctor agreed. Then, she should pay you about $900-1000 a week and you have to pay taxes on it. Hold aside about 30% of whatever she pays you for taxes. Do this right, siblings can come after you when they change their tunes in the end and get greedy. Go see and accountant and lawyer if the DPOA and your Mom agrees. They are not a dependent on taxes, been doing this for years.
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I have a lawyer and an accountant to help me through these waters.
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The best thing we did when my dad moved in with us was to contact an accountant. He gave us all the answers we needed. Don't guess about these things and it's best to do it all legally.
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There are four tests that much be met in order for a person to be a qualifying relative and therefore able to be claimed as your dependent. One of these is the gross income test. If your mother has gross income of more that $3,900 (this is for 2013, it goes up a little each year), then she cannot be claimed as anyone's dependent, even though she may meet the other three tests. Gross income includes interest and non tax-exempt social security benefits, so most people become ineligible on SS income alone. Another test is that you must provide more than half of her support, or be part of a multiple support agreement in which (1)you provide at least 10% of her support,(2) all of the participants together provide more than 50% of her support, and (3)the participants agree that you can claim the exemption for her.

Mom's payments to you are either gifts, room and board or payment for services. Gifts, sales, rent and wages each have laws to govern how they are treated for tax purposes.

I stand by my earlier statement that gift tax does not need to be paid until total lifetime taxable gifts exceed $5,250,000 or unless, after death, the total lifetime taxable gifts and estate value exceed that amount. Please, people, look this stuff up on the irs website. This is explained in Publication 559. Tax laws and limits change frequently.
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ferris, I agree totally! My sister took advantage of my father this way. Charged him $875.00 a month rent, plus $200.00 a month for food! It was no gift and she never claimed it on her taxes.
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WOW! At $14,000 per year, I would like to be her daughter too! I cannot believe she eats more than $1166/mth in food, and the rest of the care should be done willingly out of love, not profit. Consider yourself very fortunate...
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If I were you, I'd ask an accountant who is familiar with elder care and the Dependency Line on Form 1040.
I doubt that your care of her can be considered a Medical Expense.... Line 1 on Schedule A. If she is legally blind, the Standard Deduction is quite generous, on HER Return, particularly if she has a spouse who is also legally blind, and over 65..
Forget about the "Gift Tax". It's a tax that she should not have to pay. Her check to you is not a "gift", and could be questioned by the IRS.
The $5,250,000 is not applicable until AFTER her death. She probably will not meet this exclusion. (It will be higher in 2014).
What is the purpose of your question? If it's Dependency, then you can claim her on your Return if you supply over 50% of her support. Then you can claim her as a Dependent. This is the only allowance that I can see that is both legal and beneficial to you both. I am not a Tax Accountant.
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Effective January 1, 2013 you can gift up to $14,000 without paying as gift tax. This information is coming from the Irs.gov site.
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Boy, that "gifting limit" is $10,000/yr the last I checked. If you are getting any more, then declare it under Misc. Income. Since she is "gifting" you money, she can't turn around and declare it as an expense. Check with the IRS to be sure.
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Since she is living in your home, I doubt that her payments to you could be considered a medical expense for her, and therefore deductible (with limits) on her tax return. You can search "medical expenses" at the IRS website irs.gov to see if there is anything in her care that could be considered. One way for her to pay you more than the gifting limit would be for her to pay you room and board in addition to gifting the limit. You should talk to your tax advisor to see if you would need to treat some of this as rental income to you, which would impact your taxes now, and later when you sell your home. There are other exceptions to the gifting limit, such as paying college tuition or medical expenses for another person.

Many people do not understand how the gift tax works. If your mother gifts more than the annual limit, she needs to report the excess gifts with her return, (Form 709) but there is no tax due at that time unless she has already gifted more than the estate exclusion, which for 2013 was $5,250,000. If, at her death, her total excess gifts, plus her remaining estate, exceeds the current estate exclusion, there would be estate taxes due. Most estates fall far under this amount. The irs keeps track of your mom's lifetime gifts reported on form 709. You can find statistics on gift tax returns on the irs website, and they usually show that more than 90% of reported gifts are not subject to tax. You can find information about how the irs calculates and keep track of gifts in Publication 559 on the website.

Of course, you also need to consider the future impact of these gifts on your mom's eligibility for Medicaid. If you think that there is any chance that your mom will need Medicaid in the future, especially within the next five years following a gift, you should talk to an attorney about writing a contract so that the payments are for a service and not a gift. Unfortunately, this would make them income to you.
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Most folks try to avoid exceeding the gifting limit, because it can trigger a cascade of tax implications. If you have a friend or family member with good tax accounting knowledge, they might speak to you off the record.
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There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Since you're not a senator I suggest you file taxes the right way and you both will be better off. She can deduct for expenses but it is for you an income that needs to be declared. Tax consultants are popular these days and aren't overly expensive.
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My sister has POA, she is the executor of her will.
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