Tax Tips for Parents of a Child with Special Needs (Contd)

Itemized deductions

If you have a child with special needs you already know it can be expensive to provide care. One small bit of good news: many of the expenses you incur will be deductible on your income tax return (if you claim your child as a dependent). Most of the special needs items will be deductible as medical expenses, and total deductions must be at least 10% of your income before they begin to qualify. Still, it can be helpful to keep track of deductible expenses. A few of the more notable items that families often overlook:

•         Special school instruction (which can include lodging, meals, transportation and other expenses not normally deductible). This deduction requires the school to focus on adaptive education for people with neurological or physical limitations.

•         Home modifications required by your child’s condition. For example, air conditioning construction costs might be deductible if required for respiratory illness. Accessibility remodeling is normally deductible, too. Some kinds of modifications may be only partially deductible if they also increase the value of your home.

•         Travel and registration costs for conferences and seminars. If your child’s doctor will write a letter explaining how the conference will help you and your child deal with his special needs, the costs may be deductible as a medical expense.

•         Attendant care at work. If your child has a job that requires attendant care, the portion of those costs not covered by other programs may be deductible. Of course, if your child has a job that may mean that the deduction is on his return, not on yours, depending on how much of his support he can provide with his own earnings.

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