Tax Benefits for Parents with Physically Handicapped or Learning Disabled Children

December 1, 2003

by Howard and Matthew Greene

It is the custom of the great majority of Americans to draw up a list of resolutions designed to improve their health, their happiness, their success, or to fulfill some dream long sought after as each new year begins. In the midst of this human effort to resolve a particular discomfort or fill some longstanding ache or vacuum annually, a reckoning with the results of one’s financial circumstances can go unattended until the time comes later in the year to face the realities involved in filing a tax return. We would like to suggest that any adults who bear the legal responsibility for providing for personal care and educational training for children with any form of a handicap begin now to look into the sizable tax deductions that they can qualify for. Here’s an opportunity to complete one of your resolutions that involves your finances, and who is concerned with this issue as one year ends and another begins.

In a majority of cases, parents or guardians of dependent children are unaware of their legitimate claims in this area. The costs involved in providing care for special needs children, be they physical or mental handicaps or learning disabilities are considerable and often difficult to obtain at any level of care. Child care for children who need fulltime attention or special tutoring or schooling for those with nontraditional learning challenges are costly. Families should take full advantage of the Federal tax credits, as laid out in the Internal Revenue Code, available to them in order to serve their dependents best interests. You could qualify for savings up to a maximum of 35% of the cost involved in the care of a dependent with special needs, depending on your total family income and the needs of your child.

These are the major expenses that can be partially deducted from your yearly income:

  • Educational services such as specialized tutoring or schooling
  • Professional counseling services
  • Professional home care
  • Hospital services
  • Medical treatment
  • Laboratory exams and tests
  • Medical or educational equipment and supplies
  • Medicines and drugs
  • Transportation

Here’s what you can do early in this new year to learn how to qualify for tax savings: Request the Internal Revenue Service’s 2003 Publication # 503, Child Care and Disabled Dependent Care. You can request this essential information twenty four hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1 800 829-3676 or by going on line to www.irs.gov and downloading the appropriate information. Be sure to request Publication Form 2441, Child Care Expenses and Form 1040A for filing your returns this year by telephone or download from the IRS web site. We cannot think of a better resolution for the new year that you are very likely to keep and feel very good about it!