I provide all transportation to medical appointments, do their shopping, drive them to church, do their foot care, provide some meals -weekly, assist with ecercising, house cleaning. I do not want paid for this time but, if I can deduct mileage (20miles one way) and meals while transporting, it would be helpful.
If you're actually footing the bill, i.e. spending out of pocket to support an elderly relative, there may be a tax deduction. However, to qualify for the tax deduction, it appears your relative would need to be classified as your dependent, and you'd need to provide a large portion of living expenses. Refer to:
- USA Today - Supporting a parent? Check for tax breaks
- eHow - How to Take Tax Deductions for Elder Care
In terms of where your relative lives; i.e. with you or not, IRS Publication 501 does have a "Special rule for parent" under the definition of "Qualifying Person":
Special rule for parent. If your qualifying person is your father or mother, you may be eligible to file as head of household even if your father or mother does not live with you. However, you must be able to claim an exemption for your father or mother. Also, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for your father or mother. You are keeping up a main home for your father or mother if you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a rest home or home for the elderly.
So, it appears that for any relative other than a parent, the relative needs to actually be living with you in order for them to be claimed as your dependent, and thus for you to be eligible for a deduction (assuming other criteria has been met.)
In any case, if the expenses you're referring to are significant, it could be worth your while to consult with a professional.
Do you have a flexible spending account (FSA) at your employer? If so, you may be able to use some of those funds to pay for elder-care. Note I said pay for. You can't pay yourself. But if you paid a food preparation company, you might be able to use your FSA funds (generally pre-tax deductions) to pay for it.
protected by Chris W. Rea Feb 24 '12 at 12:41
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