Offset Nursing Home Costs With Possible Tax Breaks

If you have a parent entering a nursing home, taxes are probably the last thing on your mind. But you should know that several tax breaks may be available to help offset some of the costs.

Medical expense deductions

The costs of qualified long-term care (LTC), such as nursing home care, may be deductible as medical expenses to the extent they, along with other qualified expenses, exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI). But keep in mind that the medical expense deduction is an itemized deduction. And itemizing deductions saves taxes only if total itemized deductions exceed the applicable standard deduction.

Amounts paid to a nursing home are deductible as medical expenses if a person is staying at the facility principally for medical, rather than custodial care. Also, for those individuals, only the portion of the fee that’s allocable to actual medical care qualifies as a deductible expense.

If the individual is chronically ill, all qualified LTC services are deductible. Qualified LTC services are those required by a chronically ill individual and administered by a licensed health care practitioner. They include diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic, curing, treating, mitigating and rehabilitative services, and maintenance or personal-care services.

For your parent to qualify as chronically ill, a physician or other licensed health care practitioner must certify him or her as unable to perform at least two activities of daily living (ADLs) for at least 90 days due to a loss of functional capacity or severe cognitive impairment. ADLs include eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing and continence.

Qualifying as a dependent

If your parent qualifies as your dependent, you can add medical expenses you incur for him or her to your own medical expenses when calculating your deduction. We can help with this determination.

If you aren’t married and you meet the dependency tests for your parent, you may qualify for head-of-household filing status, which has a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than filing as single. You may be eligible to use this status even if the parent for whom you claim an exemption doesn’t live with you.

Selling your parent’s home

In many cases, a move to a nursing home also means selling the parent’s home. Fortunately, up to $250,000 of gain from the sale of a principal residence may be tax-free. To qualify for the $250,000 exclusion, the seller must generally have owned the home for at least two years of the five years before the sale.

Also, the seller must have used the home as a principal residence for at least two of the five years before the sale. However, there’s an exception to the two-of-five-year use test for a seller who becomes physically or mentally unable to care for him- or herself during the five-year period.

LTC insurance

Perhaps your parent is still in good health but is paying for LTC insurance (or you’re paying LTC insurance premiums for yourself). If so, be aware that premiums paid for a qualified LTC insurance contract are deductible as medical expenses (subject to limits) to the extent that they, when combined with other medical expenses, exceed the 7.5%-of-AGI threshold. Such a contract doesn’t provide payment for costs covered by Medicare, is guaranteed renewable and doesn’t have a cash surrender value.

The amount of qualified LTC premiums that can be included as medical expenses is based on the age of the insured individual. For 2022 for those 61 to 70 years old, the limit on deductible premiums is $4,510 and for those over 70, the limit is $5,640.

Need more information?

This is just a brief overview of tax breaks that may help offset nursing home and related costs. Contact us if you need more information or assistance.

Large Cash Business Transactions Must Be Reported To The IRS

If your business receives large amounts of cash or cash equivalents, you may be required to report these transactions to the IRS. Here are some details.

The requirements

Each person who, while operating a trade or business, receives more than $10,000 in cash in one transaction (or at least two related transactions), must file Form 8300. What constitutes “related transactions?” Related transactions are conducted within a 24-hour period. But transactions that occur in a greater than 24-hour period may also be deemed related if the recipient knows, or has reason to know, that the transactions are connected.

To complete a Form 8300, you’ll need certain information about the person making the payment. This includes a Social Security or taxpayer identification number.

Reasons behind the reporting

Although many cash transactions are legitimate, the IRS explains that “information reported on (Form 8300) can help stop those who evade taxes, profit from the drug trade, engage in terrorist financing and conduct other criminal activities. The government can often trace money from these illegal activities through the payments reported on Form 8300 and other cash reporting forms.”

It’s important to keep a copy of each Form 8300 for five years from the date you file it, according to the IRS.

“Cash” and “cash equivalents” defined

For Form 8300 reporting purposes, cash includes U.S. currency and coins, as well as foreign money. It also includes cash equivalents such as cashier’s checks (sometimes called bank checks), bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders. Money orders and cashier’s checks under $10,000, when used in combination with other forms of cash for a single transaction that exceeds $10,000, are defined as cash for Form 8300 reporting purposes.

Note: Under a separate reporting requirement, banks and other financial institutions report cash purchases of cashier’s checks, treasurer’s checks and/or bank checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders with a face value of more than $10,000 by filing currency transaction reports.

Options for filing

Businesses required to file reports of large cash transactions on Form 8300 should know that in addition to filing on paper, e-filing is an option. The form is due 15 days after a transaction and there’s no charge for the e-file option. Businesses that file electronically get an automatic acknowledgment of receipt when they file.

The IRS also reminds businesses that they can “batch file” their reports. This is especially helpful to those required to file many forms.

Setting up an electronic account

To file Form 8300 electronically, a business must set up an account with FinCEN’s Bank Secrecy Act E-Filing System. For more information, visit: bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov or contact us with questions.

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