As working caregivers, we often have extra pressure around tax time. Even a simple tax situation can be very daunting as we are simultaneously working, caregiving, organizing our own and organizing our loved ones’ taxes! The good news is there may be some ways to ease the burden for your loved ones. Here is my short Taking Care with Amy Goyer: Caregiving and Taxes video with a few tips on handling this stressful time of year, which you may have seen on the AARP Live! TV show on RFD-TV:
Remember, if you’re helping a loved one with their taxes, make sure they are taking all their possible deductions, including medical expenses and long-term care nonmedical expenses, which could include paid caregivers, assisted living, or other services such as help with bathing and dressing.
As a family caregiver, you may be able to take some deductions. If you are paying more than half of your family members’ expenses and their income meets IRS requirements, you may be able to declare them as dependents on your tax return. Another option is the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
Organizing information for taxes throughout the year can save you a great deal of time when April 15th looms near. I’ve created accordion files specifically for my parents’ taxes and I file pertinent statements and receipts (such as health care, charitable contributions, medical supplies and medications) directly into categories that my parents’ accountant helped me develop to save time during tax preparation. I can take these files with me anywhere — even when I travel for business — so I can prepare for our meeting with the accountant whenever I can grab free moments in my schedule. For 2013 I have a new plan: I’m getting a scanner that will organize all receipts and invoices for me. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Tax laws change from year to year, so be sure to consult with a tax professional. AARP’s Tax- Aide program provides free tax preparation for those with low to moderate incomes. And check out this post with more tax tips from my fellow blogger, Sally Abrahms, as well as this article from Carole Fleck: “Getting the Refund You’re Owed.”
Take a deep breath and meditate on peace and calm and abundance … then dive into those taxes! You can do it. Good luck and please share your ideas for making tax time easier for caregivers in the comments section below or tweet me @amygoyer.
Also of Interest
- How You Should Respond to an IRS Letter
- Older, Homeless, No Caregiver — What Should They Do?
- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more