Even if your parent files their own personal income tax return and doesn’t meet the criteria for you to claim them as a dependent on your own tax return, you might still have the opportunity to deduct their medical expenses when you file your taxes. If you are responsible for providing more than half of your parent’s financial support, you can potentially claim the medical expenses you’ve paid on their behalf throughout the year as a tax deduction. The key to this deduction is the total medical expenses, including those incurred by your parent and your family, that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) as stated on your tax return.

In many cases, the medical expenses for your parent are related to care received at a healthcare facility designed to cater to elderly individuals. When your parent is at such a healthcare facility and receives qualifying medical treatment, these expenses can typically be fully deducted on your taxes. This deduction may also extend to lodging and meal expenses. Meal and housing costs for a patient at a medical facility are generally considered fully deductible as medical expenses if the primary purpose of their stay is medical care rather than personal senior housing.

Typically, if your parent is no longer able to care for themselves independently or is suffering from a chronic illness, the costs associated with meals and housing are considered ancillary to their medical expenses and can be claimed as deductions on your taxes, provided you paid for these expenses and meet the support criteria mentioned above. According to the IRS, a chronically ill individual is someone who has been certified (at least annually) by a licensed healthcare practitioner as either unable to perform at least two activities of daily living without substantial assistance for at least 90 days or requiring substantial supervision due to severe cognitive impairment to protect their health and safety.

While healthcare facilities can often offer guidance on what costs qualify for a medical deduction, it’s advisable to have a follow-up discussion with your tax preparer to ensure a clear understanding of which expenses will be eligible for deduction on your tax return.