Tax write offs for foster parents

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Posted on September 15, by Steve Trojan, CPA If you are currently caring for a foster child, or considering doing so, there are several tax benefits of which you should be aware.

Tax write offs for foster parents

This analysis is pertinent for those that will be taking a foster child into their home—for reasons other than profit—and that an agency is going to make monthly payments for so long as you provide the foster care. Questions that arise are how foster parents should treat those payments for tax purposes, whether you can deduct your expenses in raising the foster child, and whether there are any other tax aspects to providing foster care.

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Exclusion of the payments from the agency from your income. You will be able to exclude the payments only if the payments are made under a foster care program of a state or local government and the agency making the payments is either part of the state or local government or is licensed or certified by the state or local government. Also, the agency which is placing the child with you must be either part of the state or local government or licensed or certified by the state or local government.


Tax write offs for foster parents

If your foster child has no physical, mental or emotional handicaps, another requirement for exclusion is that the payments be made for caring for the child in your principal home. The payments must be made because you are paying expenses in supporting the child and not for the value of your services. Expenses for the support of the child include expenses for shelter, food, utilities, furniture and household incidentals, recreation, transportation, clothing, education, medical care, grooming and other personal needs and a spending allowance.

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If your child has a physical, mental or emotional handicap, you can also exclude from income any payments which the payor designates in writing as having been made because and which are actually made because the state has determined that the payments are necessary to compensate you, beyond your expenses, for additional care provided by you in your principal home because of the handicap.

Charitable deductions for unreimbursed expenses. If the placing agency is a government agency or an agency exempt from income taxes and eligible to receive contributions for which the giver can get a charitable deduction aka a c 3 organization, you can get a charitable deduction for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses paid by you for the support of the child.

Support includes those expenses described above for the income exclusion. You should keep records of the expenses to meet the general requirements for a charitable deduction and so that the purposes of the payments to you can be compared with the expenses for which you wish to take a charitable deduction. One way to make this allocation is by consulting the manual used by the agency that makes the payments.

One way to make this allocation is by consulting the manual used by the agency that makes the payments. Support includes those expenses described above for the income exclusion. You can deduct your contribution. The payments must be made because you are paying expenses in supporting the child and not for the value of your services.

The records should include an expense journal noting the purpose, amount, date and payee click here each expensecancelled checks and receipts. You will also need to get from the placement agency, each year before the earlier of when you file your return or the return due date including extensionsa written statement containing a description of the service you are performing, the dates of service, a statement of whether or not the agency is providing any goods and services to you in exchange for your unreimbursed expenses and, if so, a description and good faith estimate of the value of such goods and services.

You may, however, deduct an allocable share of a collective family expense.

For example, you may deduct the share of your utility bills reflecting the additional use necessitated by the foster child. You should be aware also that there are overall limitations on the total amount of charitable deductions you are allowed for a year. They depend on the nature of the placement agency and the other organizations to which you make charitable contributions, the nature and use of any non-cash contributions which you make to other organizations and possible carryovers of deferred charitable deductions to the tax year in question.

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I am, of course, available to discuss with you how these overall limitations apply to your situation. Dependency deduction for foster child.

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It makes no difference how much income the child had, so long as the child 1 was less than 19 years of age at year-end or 2 was less than 24 years of age at year-end and was a full-time student for five months during the year. In determining whether the child provided more than half of his or her own support, payments you receive for care of the foster child from a child placement agency are considered support provided by the agency.

Similarly, payments from a state or county for foster care are considered support provided by the state or county. A qualifying child is someone who 1 lives in your home for over half the year, 2 is your child, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child, or your brother or sister or stepsibling or a descendant of any of these3 is under 17 years old at the close of the year, 4 does not provide over half of his or her own support for the year, and 5 is a U.

If you provide at least half of the support for the child and meet the other requirements, you qualify for claiming the child as a dependent. Your contribution to this type of organization is deductible only if it is to be used solely for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. You may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution some of the costs of being a foster parent foster care provider if you have no profit motive in providing the foster care and are not, in fact, making a profit. Also, the agency which is placing the child with you must be either part of here state or local government or licensed or certified by the state or local government. Support includes those expenses described above for the income exclusion. But you may be eligible to claim the child as a dependent.

For tax years beginning after Dec. If you have any questions about the above rules, please call me and we can discuss your situation. He can be reached at

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3 Comments
  1. Tax write offs for foster parents
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