Can I Claim My Parents As Dependents?

Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn if your elderly parent qualifies as a dependent and what additional tax benefits this may mean for you.
Published
January 11, 2023
Last updated
4
min read
Taxes

Can I Claim My Parents As Dependents?

Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn if your elderly parent qualifies as a dependent and what additional tax benefits this may mean for you.
Published
January 11, 2023
Last updated
4
min read
Taxes
Can I Claim My Parents As Dependents?

Can you claim your parents as dependents on your taxes? When is it appropriate to do so? Family caregivers often carry a significant financial burden when caring for a parent. Claiming your parent as a dependent helps reduce your tax burden, but it's essential to ensure you meet the qualifications that make a person eligible to claim a dependent. Learn how to file for taxes and the necessary paperwork and steps to claim your parent on your taxes.

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What is a dependent?

It's essential to check that your parent is eligible for a tax deduction. To be considered a dependent, they must have a Social Security Number and have an income of less than the amount specified by the IRS. They must also meet the dependency qualifications outlined in the Internal Revenue Code: 

  • Living with you for at least six months
  • Receiving more than half their financial support from you
  • They cannot be claimed by someone else
  • They cannot claim themselves on their taxes
  • You must exceed your parent's income by at least a dollar

Does your parent file their taxes independently? 

If your parent previously filed their tax return, they cannot be claimed as a dependent. To determine whether someone else has already claimed them as a dependency, review prior years' tax records and contact the IRS with any questions you may have.

How do I claim a parent as a dependent on my taxes?

To claim a parent as a dependent on your taxes, use Form 1040 or Form 1040A to file your income taxes. While there is another form, Form 1040EZ, that is a simplified form for taxpayers, it does not permit you to claim dependents.

On the first page, you'll submit the name(s) of your dependent(s), their Social Security number, and their relationship to you. If you have more than four dependents, list their information on a separate page as instructed.

You are able to claim one exemption for each dependent in addition to one for yourself and one for your spouse, if applicable. An exemption is a fixed amount that reduces your taxable income, similar to deductions. An exemption amount is subject to change each tax year. You multiply the exemption amount by the number of exemptions you are allowed and enter the total on the second page of your tax return.

Always be thorough and accurate when you file for taxes. While audits do not often occur, carefully organizing the documentation will help with any IRS verification need for caregiver pay, financial support, and income. 

Note: All Givers Taxes users get free audit support. Suppose the IRS or state tax authority audits your return. A Case Resolution Specialist will review and respond to tax notices and represent you in front of the IRS.

Do you have everything you need to get up to $1,700 in caregiver tax credits this season?

Name and taxpayer identification number of your loved one
Name and provider ID number of the professional taking care of your loved one while you work or look for work
You have earned income or looked for work in 2022
Your loved one meets the eligibility criteria to be claimed as a dependent

Get your checklist

Tax filing for family caregivers

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How much can I deduct for my parent? 

When claiming a parent as a dependent on your tax returns, you may be eligible to receive certain tax credits and deductions. You might also have access to the Earned Income Tax Credit. However, before these benefits can be enjoyed, you must calculate how much you can deduct to determine if it's worth filing the claim. 

To find the precise amount of deductions from claiming your parent as a dependent, look at recent forms from the IRS or consult with a qualified accountant or tax professional for additional guidance. Your overall tax deduction depends on your parent's income level, the amount of your financial support, and other factors. 

After calculating the amount that can be deducted for claiming a parent as a dependent, you should file the appropriate tax forms. Suppose your parent qualifies as an eligible dependant based on all IRS regulations. In that case, you must complete Form 1040 and supplement it with Schedule 1 if filing taxes electronically or Form 1040A if filing manually. Once you've done this, make sure to pay all taxes due based on your eligibility and own finances.

Remember, when you claim your parent, it will affect your and your parent's taxes. Work with your parent to compile all necessary paperwork. You may need additional help to file for taxes.

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Can more than one person claim a parent as a dependent?

When multiple people contribute to a parent's living expenses, the issue of who can claim the dependent parent arises, as typically, no singular person gives at least 50% support.

In this instance, each person contributing more than 10% to your parent(s) should fill out Form 2120 (Multiple Support Declaration) and give it to the person claiming your parent. This form permits individuals to release their fiscal rights to one entity and allocate the responsibility for different tax years if needed.

Tax saving tips for family caregivers

Caregivers can save money on taxes by taking advantage of certain deductions and credits designed for those providing unpaid care for family members. These include deductions for unreimbursed medical expenses, credits for child and dependent care expenses, and credits for adoption or foster care costs.

Caregiving can be expensive, but there are ways to save on taxes. Take advantage of any credits and deductions available to offset your costs. Consider claiming medical expenses, dependent care credits, home office expenses, and other deductions that may apply to your situation. Additionally, research any tax breaks or government benefits you may qualify for as a caregiver. Working with a licensed tax professional to help you offset the high caregiver costs dramatically reduces stress and relieves the financial burdens you may experience.

File your taxes confidently using Givers Taxes. Just answer a few questions, and we'll guide you through the tax filing experience. Get your maximum refund guaranteed.

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Katie Wilkinson

Katie Wilkinson

Katie Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at Givers. Watching her dad take care of her mom when she was sick gave her a front-row seat to witness the weight of being an unpaid caregiver. Katie is passionate about the intersection of healthcare and technology, and making sure that unpaid family caregivers get the care and compensation they deserve.

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