Can parents claim hurt son as a dependent?

Posted: April 11, 2013

DEAR HARRY: My 26-year-old son was injured in a fluke accident early in 2012. We have paid a small fortune in medical bills for him in addition to his health-insurance premiums. He has a small amount of earnings, plus some interest and dividends. The total comes to about $24,000. He has been either in hospitals or with us since the accident. There is no indication of whether he will fully recover.

Since those medical bills are way above that, may we claim him as a dependent? If not, may we claim a deduction for the medical bills?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Since he is a nominal resident in your home, and is "totally" and perhaps permanently disabled, you may claim him. There is enough doubt in my mind as to the permanency of his disability that I am taking the conservative position. That also gives you the right to claim those heavy medical bills.

However, even if he did not qualify for the dependency, you'd be able to deduct the medical bills. The rules for "medical expense dependency" are a bit more liberal than those for dependency itself. Do keep in mind that he, or someone on his behalf, has to file a 2012 return since his gross income exceeded $9,750. That will very likely get him a refund of some of his tax withheld.


Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

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