This publication gives you a brief introduction to certain parts of the tax law of particular interest to people with disabilities and those who care for people with disabilities. It includes highlights about:
- Itemized deductions,
- Tax credits,
- Household employees, and
- Business tax incentives.
You will find most of the information you need to complete your tax return in your form instruction booklet. If you need additional information, you may want to order a free tax publication. You may also want to take advantage of the other free tax help services that IRS provides.
See How To Get Tax Help, at the end of this publication, for information about getting publications, forms, and free tax services.taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink100081811
We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
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Internal Revenue Service
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If you have a tax question, check the information available on www.irs.gov
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For 2009, the following changes have been made to the definition of a qualifying child.
- To be your qualifying child, a child must be younger than you unless permanently and totally disabled.
- A child cannot be your qualifying child if he or she files a joint return with their spouse, unless the return was filed only as a claim for refund.
- If a person other than the child's parent is claiming the qualifying child for the earned income credit their adjusted gross income (AGI) must be higher than the highest AGI of each of the child's parents.
The maximum amount of income you can earn and still get the credit has increased. You may be able to take the credit if:
- You do not have a qualifying child and you earned less than $13,440 ($18,440 if married filing jointly).
- You have one qualifying child and you earned less than $35,463 ($40,463 if married filing jointly), or
- You have two qualifying children and you earned less than $40,295 ($45,295 if married filing jointly),
- You have three or more qualifying children and you earned less than $43,279 ($48,279 if married filing jointly),
Your AGI also must be less than the amount in the above list that applies to you.
All income is taxable unless it is specifically excluded by law. The following discussions highlight some income items (both taxable and nontaxable) that are of particular interest to people with disabilities and those who care for people with disabilities.taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008632
Dependent care benefits include:
- Amounts your employer paid directly to either you or your care provider for the care of your qualifying person while you work,
- The fair market value of care in a daycare facility provided or sponsored by your employer, and
- Pre-tax contributions you made under a dependent care flexible spending arrangement.
If your employer provides dependent care benefits under a qualified plan, you may be able to exclude these benefits from your income. Your employer can tell you whether your benefit plan qualifies. To claim the exclusion, you must complete Part III of Form 2441. You cannot use Form 1040EZ.
If you are self-employed and receive benefits from a qualified dependent care benefit plan, you are treated as both employer and employee. Therefore, you would not get an exclusion from wages. Instead, you would get a deduction. To claim the deduction, you must use Form 2441.
The amount you can exclude or deduct is limited to the smallest of:
- The total amount of dependent care benefits you received during the year,
- The total amount of qualified expenses you incurred during the year,
- Your earned income,
- Your spouse's earned income, or
- $5,000 ($2,500 if married filing separately).
Your employer must give you a Form W-2 (or similar statement), showing in box 10 the total amount of dependent care benefits provided to you during the year under a qualified plan. Your employer will also include any dependent care benefits over $5,000 in your wages shown on your Form W-2 in box 1.taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008824
A qualifying person is:
- A qualifying child who is under age 13 whom you can claim as a dependent. If the child turned 13 during the year, the child is a qualifying person for the part of the year he or she was under age 13.
- Your disabled spouse who is not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself.
- Any disabled person who is not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself whom you can claim as a dependent (or could claim as a dependent except that the person had gross income of $3,650 or more or filed a joint return).
- Any disabled person who is not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself whom you could claim as a dependent except that you (or your spouse if filing jointly) could be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's 2009 return.
For information about excluding benefits on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, see Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, and its instructions. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008633
If you received social security or equivalent tier 1 railroad retirement benefits during the year, part of the amount you received may be taxable. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008634
If the only income you received during the year was your social security or equivalent tier 1 railroad retirement benefits, your benefits generally are not taxable and you probably do not have to file a return.
If you received income during the year in addition to social security or equivalent tier 1 railroad retirement benefits, part of your benefits may be taxable if all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, plus half of your benefits are more than:
- $25,000 if you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),
- $25,000 if you are married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for all of the year,
- $32,000 if you are married filing jointly, or
- $-0- if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year.
For more information, see the instructions for Form 1040, lines 20a and 20b, or Form 1040A, lines 14a and 14b. Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits, contains more detailed information.taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008635
Social security benefits do not include SSI payments, which are not taxable. Do not include these payments in your income. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008636
If you retired on disability, you must include in income any disability pension you receive under a plan that is paid for by your employer. You must report your taxable disability payments as wages on line 7 of Form 1040 or Form 1040A until you reach minimum retirement age. Minimum retirement age generally is the age at which you can first receive a pension or annuity if you are not disabled.
You may be entitled to a tax credit if you were permanently and totally disabled when you retired. For information on this credit, see Publication 524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
Beginning on the day after you reach minimum retirement age, payments you receive are taxable as a pension or annuity. Report the payments on lines 16a and 16b of Form 1040 or on lines 12a and 12b of Form 1040A. For more information on pensions and annuities, see Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10009538
If you receive payments from a retirement or profit-sharing plan that does not provide for disability retirement, do not treat the payments as a disability pension. The payments must be reported as a pension or annuity. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10009539
If you retire on disability, any lump-sum payment you receive for accrued annual leave is a salary payment. The payment is not a disability payment. Include it in your income in the tax year you receive it.
See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for more information. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008637
Generally, you must report disability pensions as income, but do not include certain military and government disability pensions. For information about military and government disability pensions, see Publication 525. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008638
Do not include disability benefits you receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in your gross income. If you are a military retiree and do not receive your disability benefits from the VA, see Publication 525 for more information.
Do not include in your income any veterans' benefits paid under any law, regulation, or administrative practice administered by the VA. These include:
- Education, training, and subsistence allowances,
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to veterans or their families,
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living,
- Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs,
- Veterans' insurance proceeds and dividends paid either to veterans or their beneficiaries, including the proceeds of a veteran's endowment policy paid before death,
- Interest on insurance dividends left on deposit with the VA,
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program, or
- The death gratuity paid to a survivor of a member of the Armed Forces who died after September 10, 2001.
VA payments to hospital patients and resident veterans for their services under the VA's therapeutic or rehabilitative programs are not included in income. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008640
You may receive other payments that are related to your disability. The following payments are not taxable.
- Benefit payments from a public welfare fund, such as payments due to blindness.
- Workers' compensation for an occupational sickness or injury if paid under a workers' compensation act or similar law.
- Compensatory (but not punitive) damages for physical injury or physical sickness.
- Disability benefits under a "no-fault" car insurance policy for loss of income or earning capacity as a result of injuries.
- Compensation for permanent loss or loss of use of a part or function of your body, or for your permanent disfigurement.
Long-term care insurance contracts generally are treated as accident and health insurance contracts. Amounts you receive from them (other than policyholder dividends or premium refunds) generally are excludable from income as amounts received for personal injury or sickness. More detailed information can be found in Publication 525. taxmap/pubs/p907-000.htm#en_us_publink10008642
You can exclude from income accelerated death benefits you receive on the life of an insured individual if certain requirements are met. Accelerated death benefits are amounts received under a life insurance contract before the death of the insured. These benefits also include amounts received on the sale or assignment of the contract to a viatical settlement provider. This exclusion applies only if the insured was a terminally ill individual or a chronically ill individual. For more information, see Publication 525.