How can I claim my mother as a dependent on taxes?

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How can I claim my mother as a dependent on taxes?
Parents can qualify as dependents for tax purposes. (elderly couple relaxing in wheelchairs in the sun image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Claiming a parent as a dependent on your taxes is a common process and the rules for this are set forth by the Internal Revenue Service. In a nutshell, a parent is dependent on you for tax purposes if the individual's income is below a threshold and you are responsible for the majority of the individual's expenses. If multiple people have supported your mother during the tax year, you need to obtain a waiver from other supporters stating that they will not claim your mother as a dependent.

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Things you need

  • IRS Form 2120

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Calculate the total gross income for your mother. In order to qualify as a dependent, your mother's total income for the tax year must not exceed £2,210. Social Security payments and tax exempt interest your mother receives are not included in this calculation. Therefore, if your mother has investable assets and you are planning to claim her as a dependent, it may be a good idea for her to purchase tax exempt bonds, such as municipal or state bonds. The income from such instruments will not count towards her income for eligibility purposes, while income generated by CDs, stocks, real estate and most other instruments will.

  2. 2

    To claim your mother as a dependent, you must provide at least half of her financial support. This can include food and medical costs, and if the person is living with you, a reasonable percentage of the household's expenditures such as mortgage rent or utilities. If your mother lives in an assisted care facility, the fees for the facility will also count. If you have hired someone to take care of your mother while you work or look for work, the fees paid to such people are also claimable as expenses. In addition, your mother must be a resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico, and not have filed a joint tax return with a spouse.

  3. 3

    If multiple persons, such as other siblings or relatives, have provided financial support for the care of your mother, you should contact these individuals and have them sign IRS Form 2120. By doing so, other people who may have supported your mother will waive their rights to claim her as a dependent. By law, an individual can only be claimed as a dependent on one person's tax return and this form ensures that no conflicts occur among siblings, relatives or caregivers by establishing who the primary supporter is.

    After filling out IRS Form 2120 and attaching it to your tax return, you can claim your mother as a dependent. To do so, increase the number of exemptions on your tax return by one, on whichever tax form you are using. If your mother is your only dependent for tax purposes, the total number of your dependents will be one.

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