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Tax and Estate Planning: Take Advantage of Tax Deductions for Assisted Living Costs

Published September 4, 2009

People who are familiar with the costs associated with nursing home care are acutely aware that care is getting more and more expensive every year. Fortunately, a portion of the cost of nursing home care, like other medical expenses, can be deducted as an itemized expense on federal tax returns. Medical expenses, including some longterm care expenses, are deductible once they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.

A resident must be considered “chronically ill” in order for assisted care expenses to be deductible. This means a doctor has certified that the individual cannot perform at least two activities of daily living — for example, eating or bathing — and that the individual requires supervision because of a cognitive impairment. The services must also be administered in accordance with a plan of care prescribed by a doctor, nurse or social worker. Generally, only medical expenses my be deducted, but room and board expenses may qualify for deduction if the patient is chronically ill and in the nursing home for the purpose of medical care.

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