Tax questions

March 16, 2000

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

We have an elderly parent living with us who has significant health problems. Her gross income is $14,022 from Social Security. We provide many of her needs -- home, food, insurance, etc. Can we claim our parent as a dependent on our income tax form?

You would not be prevented from claiming your parent as a dependent as a result of nontaxable Social Security income. However, you must still be able to establish that you provided more than half of her support. If, for example, the $14,022 was used by the parent toward her own support (i.e. medical expenses, meals, clothing), then the total cost of support your parent would need to exceed would be $28,045. If the $14,022, or a part of it, was invested or saved by your parent, then the amount so saved would not be counted as part of the support.

Richard C. Gittelman, CPA North Bethesda

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

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered personally.

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