With all the tax credits, bailouts, and TARP money I thought there might at least be a chance to claim some kind of deduction on my 2010 tax returns for my particular situation. I'm sure this is a long shot, but it doesn't cost anything to ask all the smart folks on the site.

The back-story:
My wife's sister lost her job in 2009 and was unemployed for almost all of 2010. She lived in our home for almost the entire year, rent free, while she looked for work. Thankfully she finally found a job in late December after a marathon search.

My Question: Is there a US tax credit or deduction I might be eligible for related to taking in an unemployed person?

  • 1
    Nope, you do get good karma though! Jan 14, 2011 at 0:28
  • True. Plus we got a free house/pet sitter when we went on vacations.
    – JohnFx
    Jan 14, 2011 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


Only cash and goods are considered charitable donations. A gift of services (in this case free rent) does not apply.

She might qualify as a dependent though. However since she you wrote "almost all of 2010" I suspect she may go over the ~$3k income limit.

  • 2
    A dependent seems the most likely possibility. I was able to claim my girlfriend (in 2009, now wife) as a dependent because she had no income and lived with me the entire year. I think the 2 things for the OP to find out is the exact definition of The person lives with you for an entire year since he says "almost the entire year" and the income in 2010.
    – Davy8
    Jan 14, 2011 at 15:08
  • I wasn't thinking about it as a charitable donation. I just thought in that flurry of legislation there might have been something in there that applied. They had a similar program for taking in Katrina Evacuees, which got me thinking about it. The dependent angle is an interesting thought though.
    – JohnFx
    Jan 14, 2011 at 16:02

More to the point: gifts to specific people are not tax-deductible (see page 6).


Yes, there is a tax credit for unemployed people living in your home. It's called the child tax credit.

  • 1
    This person isn't a child. She is in her mid 30's
    – JohnFx
    Jan 14, 2011 at 16:00
  • 1
    I know. Just my feeble attempt at humor. In my defense: I did provide a legitimate answer to the stated question.
    – Muro
    Jan 14, 2011 at 16:26

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