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How to Maximize Deductions for Assisted Living
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It's possible that someone in your family will need assisted living care at some point in their life. This care can be at an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or in their own home. Often, assisted living care is expensive and not fully reimbursable by typical health insurance policies. Thankfully, there is a medical expense itemized deduction when the out-of-pocket amount exceeds 10 percent of your adjusted gross income.
Here’s what you can do to increase the chances for you or a loved one to maximize their tax deduction.
Know the chronically ill definition. To qualify, care expenses must be incurred for rehabilitative, maintenance or personal care services of a chronically ill person under a plan of care created by a licensed health care practitioner. For tax purposes, a chronically ill individual is generally someone who is unable to perform at least two of the five activities of daily living which include eating, toiletry, transferring, bathing, dressing and continence. The chronically ill definition also includes the need of supervision due to a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s.
Obtain a breakdown. Don’t assume that every expense is a medical deduction. It is always best to get a breakdown of the cost of care. You'll also need to track which expenses have been reimbursed by insurance as those reimbursed costs are not deductible.
Track premium costs. If you have long-term care insurance and pay for health insurance keep track of these costs as some or all of the premiums may be deductible.
Keep a travel log. Be aware that travel expenses incurred for medical care of the family member may also be deducted. For example, if the resident must be transported to a doctor’s office, dentist’s office or hospital, the cost can be added to the deductible amount.
Record in-house expenses. Finally, remember that expenses for medical care at the facility are deductible, regardless of whether you can deduct monthly living expenses. For instance, if you’re charged separately for a visiting dentist, the cost is added to the deductible total.