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My in-laws recently found themselves in a bit of a bind after unemployment/foreclosure and will be temporarily moving in with my husband and me. All told right now there are 2 additional adults and 4 additional kids living with us, although in September one of the kids is going to college.

We are not charging the family rent or receiving any sort of reimbursement from them, but having 6 extra people does increase our expenses (utilities and groceries primarily). Without claiming our long-term house guests as dependents, are any of these additional expenses tax deductible?

  • There have been a few special deductions enacted in the past for taking in people displaced by natural disasters. For instance, the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 provided for an exemption of $500 per victim housed, up to $2000. But it doesn't sound like any natural disaster is involved here. – Nate Eldredge Aug 6 '13 at 22:22
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Without claiming our long-term house guests as dependents

No. And to claim them as dependents you'd need to show that you provide more than half of their support for more than half a year (i.e.: you feed them, by them clothes, drive them around, etc. Lodging is part of that as well).

  • Even if it was legally easier we wouldn't want to claim anybody as a dependent. My in-laws would have more use for the dependent credit and we made the offer to help family, not expecting any retribution or to turn a profit. Just thought I would see if there was an applicable tax credit/benefit that could be claimed without impacting the family. With any luck it will be an extremely short term solution (less than half a year) while they find new jobs and their own affordable place to live near us. Thanks for quick answer – awestover89 Aug 6 '13 at 21:08
  • I was thinking HoH, but if you're already married, you're already using the most advantageous tax tables (at least they were in 2012; we'll see what happens for TY2013). As littleadv rightly said, there's a specific definition of "dependent" which your in-laws wouldn't meet unless they really did depend on you for the necessities. – KeithS Aug 7 '13 at 15:29

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