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Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3290
Experience:  18+ years of experience in tax preparation; 25+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
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I intend to claim my elderly mother as a dependent this year

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I intend to claim my elderly mother as a dependent this year (+ amend 2 previous years’ tax returns, indicating myself Head of Household). My mother makes a nominal social security income (no other income source), and meets the “qualifying relative” IRS guidelines. I maintain the entire household repairs, groceries, utilities and pay her extensive medical expenses etc. I've had my mother set aside the vast majority of her social security income as savings (which can be documented in the event of an audit).

Making matters more complex, I have been in a foreclosure lawsuit, regarding our home for the last 2 ½ years. The property is a legal 2 family and my mother lives rent free in her own 1 bedroom apartment downstairs. As I am in litigation and not making mortgage payments, is it possible for me to still include the “fair rental value of the home” on line 6b of the “worksheet determining support”?

Do the IRS rules allowed to claim the comparable rental value of a 1 bedroom apartment, in my area, as part of her support in this scenario?

Any feedback is helpful. Thank You

bkb1956 :

Thank you for allowing me to be of service to you regarding your tax question. You may claim your mom as a dependent and file as head of household based on the information contained in your question. Your mom's social security does not count as income for tax purposes to claim her as a dependent, and you have provided more than half the cost of upkeeping the home--whatever those costs are. A parent does not have to actually live with you to be claimed as a dependent as long as you provided more than half the cost of upkeeping the home. There is no need to fill out the worksheet in your case. Please let me know if you require additional information or clarification.

bkb1956 :

Please let me know if you were able to view my response sent at 7:01 am and/or if you need further information or clarification. Thank you.


I just want to be clear about the specifics of claiming "fair rental value of the home" in the case of foreclosure. I am not making mortgage payments so I cannot


claim for half of the mortgage. However, I just want to be clear that comping the value of the apartment is not against IRS rules. Thank You

bkb1956 :

There is no reason to figure in the fair rental value as to claiming your mom as a dependent because you are not paying that expense. For example, if you did not have a mortgage at all, that would not be an expense to be calculated. As long as you are providing more than half the cost to upkeep the home, you can claim your mom. Upkeep of the home is calculated on the expenses you actually pay.


Thank you very much for this clarification!

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Thank you very much for the "excellent" service rating. It is most appreciated. If you have any questions in the future, please remember to put "for bkb1956" in the subject line so that I may assist you. Best regards.