Your mother took care of you, now it's your turn. If you are caring for your disabled mother in your home, Uncle Sam may help reduce the financial burden. Just as the Internal Revenue Service gave her tax breaks many years ago, the agency is prepared to do the same for you. However, caring for your mother doesn't necessarily guarantee you the deductions and credits. The IRS sets certain requirements you and your mother must meet.
For you to declare your disabled mom as a dependent, she can't be anyone else's dependent. If she is married, she can't file a joint return with her husband. Your mom has to live in your home for the entire year, have gross income of $3,700 and meet citizenship requirements. She must be a citizen or resident of the United States, Canada or Mexico. There are no specific disability requirements for her to meet. An elderly parent qualifies as a dependent, even without being disabled.
Income and Support Requirements
The IRS is strict about income requirements. At the time of publication, your mother's annual gross income is limited to $3,700 or less, not including nontaxable income. Since this amount isn't much, you probably find yourself kicking in extra cash to help your mom survive. If you provide more than half her support, you meet the IRS support requirement for a dependent. Possible expenses you pay can include meals, clothing, transportation and medical bills or prescriptions her insurance doesn't cover.
Dependent Care Credit
Through the nonrefundable Child and Dependent Care Credit, you can deduct expenses related to your mother's care and supervision while you are working, looking for a job or going to school full time. If you are married, your spouse must meet the same work requirements. The credit reimburses you up to 35 percent of the amount you spend on adult day care, either in a facility or your home. You can receive up to $3,000 for a dependent. If you pay day care expenses for a child as well, you can claim a maximum credit of up to $6,000.
You have the right to deduct any medical and dental expenses you paid for your mom that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Examples of qualifying medical expenses include the costs of diagnosing and treating disease, artificial limbs, handicap equipment and maintenance costs, contact lenses, hearing aids, insurance premiums and deductibles. Renovations to make the home more accessible may qualify. According to the IRS, if the value of your property is not increased by the improvement, the entire cost of the renovation is deductible as a medical expense. Medical deductions are only available if you itemize deductions instead of claiming the standard deduction.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.