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IRS.gov Website

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

IRS Procedures - For Caregivers

  1. I am a caregiver for my aging parent who lives in my home. May I claim my parent as a dependent on my tax return?
  2. I am a caregiver for my aging parent who lives in my home. May I file as head of household?
  3. I care for my parents in my home. My parents occasionally give me money to pay for their share of household expenses. Is this money taxable to me?
  4. I pay for some of my parent’s medical expenses. May I deduct these expenses on my return?
  5. My father is suffering from dementia. As a result, I must cash his monthly social security check and use the proceeds for his care. What are the resulting tax consequences?
  6. I received a death benefit from my parent’s life insurance policy. Are these insurance proceeds taxable to me?

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

I am a caregiver for my aging parent who lives in my home. May I claim my parent as a dependent on my tax return?

You may claim your parent as a dependent if you meet the following tests:
  1. You're not a dependent of another taxpayer.
  2. Your parent, if married, doesn't file a joint return, unless your parent and his or her spouse file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid.
  3. Your parent is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  4. You paid more than half of your parent's support for the calendar year.
  5. Your parent's gross income for the calendar year was less than the exemption amount.
  6. Your parent isn't a qualifying child of another taxpayer.
See "qualifying relative, "qualifying child," and "Table 5. Overview of the Rules for Claiming an Exemption for a Dependent," in Publication 501, for additional information about claiming a dependent.
Additional Information
Who Can I Claim as a Dependent

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

I am a caregiver for my aging parent who lives in my home. May I file as head of household?

You may file as head of household only if you meet the following requirements:
  1. You're unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
  2. You can claim a dependency exemption for your parent.
  3. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for your parent for the tax year. Your dependent parent doesn't have to live with you. See Special rule for parent in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.
Additional Information
What Is My Filing Status

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

I care for my parents in my home. My parents occasionally give me money to pay for their share of household expenses. Is this money taxable to me?

An amount of money that your parents give you to offset their expenses isn't taxable to you. This amount is treated as support provided by your parents in determining whether your parents are your dependents.
See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

I pay for some of my parent’s medical expenses. May I deduct these expenses on my return?

Yes, if your parent was your dependent either at the time the medical services were provided or at the time you paid the expenses, you may claim a deduction for the portion of their expenses that you paid. You can include medical expenses you paid for an individual that would have been your dependent except that:
Deduct the medical expenses on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions. Reduce the total of all allowable medical expenses by 10% of your adjusted gross income, 7.5% if either you or your spouse is age 65 or older. See Itemized Deduction for 2016 Medical Expenses for more information.

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

My father is suffering from dementia. As a result, I must cash his monthly social security check and use the proceeds for his care. What are the resulting tax consequences?

Your father's social security benefits aren't taxable to you. In determining whether you provided over one-half of your father's support in order to claim him as your dependent, you should consider the benefits used for your father's support as support provided by your parent.   
See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, for additional information.

Rev. date: 11/08/2016

I received a death benefit from my parent’s life insurance policy. Are these insurance proceeds taxable to me?

Generally, life insurance proceeds you receive because of the death of the insured person aren't taxable unless the policy was turned over to you for a price. This is true even if the proceeds were paid under an accident or health insurance policy or an endowment contract. However, interest income received as a result of life insurance proceeds is taxable.
See Life Insurance Proceeds under Miscellaneous Income in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for additional information.