Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public...

Tax answers

February 23, 1996

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

Q: I put my aunt into a nursing home. Can I deduct that as a medical expense and what proof do I need?

A: You can deduct medical expenses for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. If you can claim your aunt as a dependent, you can deduct her medical expenses paid by you. The !c documentation required would be receipts and cancled checks and proof you meet all five dependency tests (1. Relationship, 2. Gross Income Test, 3. Support Test, 4. Citizenship or Residence Test and 5. Joint Return Test.). If you cannot claim your aunt as a dependent because she fails the gross income test ($2,500 or more), but you provide more than half of her support and meet the other dependency tests, you can still deduct eligible medical expenses you pay for her. The nursing home expenses must qualify as medical expenses. If availability of medical care is the primary reason for your aunt to be in the nursing home, the entire cost may be deductible. Otherwise, only the portion attributable to medical care is deductible. Any amounts reimbursed by insurance may not be deducted. To claim a medical expense deduction, the expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income and you must itemize deductions.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

A joint service from The Sun and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants can help you with your tax queries. Association members, all CPAs, will answer questions from readers until April 15. To ask a tax question, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. Using a touch-tone phone, enter 6225 after you hear the greeting.

Callers are asked to leave their names and phone numbers should questions need to be clarified. Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered by phone. Names and numbers will not be published.

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