Parents of a special needs child face many challenges, not the least of which is the high costs of providing care. Unfortunately, many are unaware that they may be eligible for several tax benefits that can offset some of those expenses. This can result in hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in tax savings. The following are a few key benefits:
- School Expenses – Ordinarily costs related to providing for a child’s education are not deductible. Not so, however, with special needs children. The unreimbursed cost of attending a “special school” for a neurologically or physically handicapped individual is deductible as a medical expense. The only stipulation is that the principal reason for enrolling in that school must be to alleviate the handicap through the school’s resources. The deductible expenses associated with the special school include amounts paid for lodging, meals, transportation, as well as the cost of ordinary education that is incidental to the special services the school provides.
- Conferences and Seminars- Parents and guardians of special needs children often attend medical conferences and seminars to educate themselves about their child’s disability. Provided the conference deals specifically with the child’s medical condition, the cost of the conference is deductible as a medical expense.
- Earned Income Tax Credit- The earned income tax credit, a credit designed to encourage the economically disadvantaged to work. It can amount to as much as $6,044 in 2013. The amount of this credit rises incrementally with the number of children one claims. Normally there is an age limit to qualify for this credit, but not for severely disabled children. They can be claimed as “qualified children” even into adulthood.