Nursing Home Costs

 Today TaxMama hears from Susan in the TaxQuips Forum with an ever more common  situation. “My dad (age 88) is in a nursing home because my mom can no longer care for him. I wanted to know which nursing home expenses are considered medical expenses.”


 Dear Susan,

You got an excellent response from Susan Holtgrefe, EA in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Susan says your father’s care, including the room and board portion, are considered medical expenses.

She adds a valuable tip. I am not sure if you are asking this on behalf of your mom or yourself, but if you provide more than half of his support then he can be considered a dependent, as parents do not have to live with you to be your dependent. If you are single, then that means you can use the Head Of Household filing status. Medical and Dental expenses are explained in IRS Publication 502. It is worth looking into as you might see something that you paid for in 2011 that you did not know could be a deductible medical expense. 

If only Congress would let us deduct the cost of gas that the family uses to drive back and forth from the nursing home! You can deduct mileage for trips to the doctor though.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about aging, medical expenses and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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