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Claiming your parent as a dependent

Are you or one of your siblings a primary caregiver for Mom or Dad? Typically more than one family member is involved in care-giving but the one who is providing more than 50% of the support is entitled to the claim. It may be possible to claim your parent as a dependent on your income taxes.

Here is the criterion you must meet in order to get a tax exemption for a family member:

(Be sure to check with other family members to determine that more than one of you is not claiming that person as a dependent.)

  • You (or the caregiver) cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer
  • The dependent must be a resident of the US, Mexico, or Canada.
  • The dependent for cannot file a joint tax return with a spouse.
  • The dependent must be a relative (mother, father, grandparent, in-law, and step-parent).
  • The dependent does not have to live with you. The costs paid for support at locations, such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home, meet IRS requirements as long as the income and support levels are met.
  • The dependent’s income must be less than $3,700.
  • You must be providing over half of their financial support for food, housing, medical, transportation, etc. (include a percentage of your utilities and household costs to determine the level of support you are providing)

Once the dependent meets and passes IRS dependency testing, you can also use all of their medical expenses towards a tax-deductible medical expense, given that the annual unreimbursed medical costs exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income.

Visit IRS Publication 501: Exemptions, Standard Deductions and Filing Information and IRS form 2120: Multiple-Support Declaration* (*only if each family member contributes at least 10 percent toward parental care) directly for more information on claiming a family member as a dependent.

New York Law Firm Littman Krooks LLP assists caregivers and their loved ones to plan for medical needs, estate planning and asset protection, and preservation of government benefits. Our New York City, or White Plains elder law and estate planning attorneys are a trusted resource for many New York families. To learn more about New York estate planning, visit and

Littman Krooks LLP is located in New York City and White Plains, NY and serves clients in and around White Plains, New Rochelle, Purchase, Hartsdale, Armonk, Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Hawthorne, Briarcliff Manor, Ardsley, Elmsford, Larchmont, Valhalla, Harrison, Port Chester, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Hastings on Hudson, Rye, Tuckahoe, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Bronx County, Nassau County, New York County, Queens County, Rockland County, Westchester County and Dutchess County.

Contact Littman Krooks to learn how we can serve your elder law and estate planning needs.

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