Tax deductions for senior home care
There is no way to sugar coat it: Senior in home care is expensive. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to afford it paying privately out of pocket; others may have long term care insurance or Veteran’s benefits. But for most of us it’s a struggle to be able to afford to bring in the kind of licensed, qualified care that is need to properly care for an aging adult. However, with a little help from your accountant and family physician, you may be able to take deductions from your taxes for the expenses for home care you’re spending on your loved one.
My mother lives out of the area and is 87 living alone. Dad died a few years ago, and there really is no one to check up on her and help her keep up the big family house she insists on staying in. So we pay a licensed, senior home care agency in her area to take care of her 12 hours a day. I had heard that these expenses might be deductible from our taxes as Senior Home Care, so I put in a call to my accountant. He checked the tax laws and sent me the following ruling from the U.S. Tax Court:
‘‘Qualified long-term care services’’ means necessary diagnostic, preventative, therapeutic, curing, treating, mitigating, and rehabilitative services and maintenance or personal care services required by a chronically ill individual and provided pursuant to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner. Sec. 7702B(c)(1). A ‘‘chronically ill individual’’ means any individual who has been certified by a licensed health care practitioner as (i) being unable to perform at least two of six specified activities of daily living (eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, and continence) for a period of at least 90 days due to a loss of functional capacity (the ADL level of disability); (ii) having a level of disability similar to the ADL level of disability as determined under regulations prescribed by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the similar level of disability); or (iii) requiring substantial supervision to protect the individual from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment (cognitive impairment). 5 Sec. 7702B(c)(2) **
So what does that mean for us that have to pay for this much needed care?
First, check with your accountant to verify the tax law and make sure your situation will qualify or the deductions. You can download the entire court ruling here to take to your accountant.
Next, get a note from your loved one’s doctor certifying that they need a home care aide to assist with at least two of the six specified activities below:
|Continence||The ability to voluntarily control bladder and bowel functions, or care for incontinence if it occurs.|
|Bathing||The ability to wash yourself in the tub, shower or by sponge bath.|
|Dressing||The ability to dress or undress yourself, including needing help with fastening and unfastening buttons or zippers.|
|Toileting||Safely getting to and from the toilet and performing basic personal hygiene.|
|Transferring||Moving in and out of a bed, chair or wheelchair.|
|Eating||The ability to dress or undress yourself, including needing help with fastening and unfastening buttons or zippers.|
Finally, check with your home care agency and ask them to provide you paid invoices and visit notes for all care, demonstrating that they provide at least 2 of the 6 required activities of daily living on a regular basis.
**UNITED STATES TAX COURT
Docket No. 3618–10. Filed July 5, 2011.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR