Caregiver Tax Breaks

As a family caregiver, you may be in for some tax breaks. Here are the eligibility criteria:

You must provide more than half of a care recipient’s financial support for the year. (If your loved one lives with you, you can include in your calculation of financial support that person’s share of your mortgage, utilities and other housing-related expenses).
Your loved one must be either a relative (living with you or on his or her own) or a nonfamily member who has lived with you for the past year.
Your loved one must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.
Your loved one’s gross income for the year, excluding Social Security benefits, must be less than $3,650.
Your loved one can’t have filed a joint tax return.
But wait…there’s more!

If you work and either claim your loved one as a dependent or couldn’t claim him or her because of the $3,650 income requirement, you may be eligible for a dependent-care credit of as much as $1,050 if your loved one is physically or mentally unable to care for him or herself. If you are single, you may also be able to change your filing status to “head of household.” This way, more of your income will be taxed at a lower rate, you’re your standard-deduction amount will rise to $8,400, from $5,700. You will want to talk with your accountant to see if you are eligible and to find out how to best manage your tax liability.

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