Tax filing status- one parent in nursing home


Full time employment: Posting here.
Mar 6, 2008
Like many, we are now dealing with elder care issues, and have lots to learn!

FIL is now in nursing home. MIL still at home. They did not have sufficient income to have to file or pay taxes in past recent years as joint filers.

Now that he is in a nursing home, do they need to consider filing as married but seperate? Or can they keep joint status?

Taking it one step further, MIL just had a stroke, and may end up in nursing home this year yet. If so, and they are at same facility but sperate rooms, then what would filing status be?
Joint (MFJ) versus separate (MFS) is not a matter of whether they are living together or apart. It is a matter of how a married couple chooses to be treated under the tax law.

Generally speaking, a couple that is married at the end of the calendar year can file either MFJ or MFS. Also generally speaking, MFJ is more likely to result in a lower tax bill than MFS.

As kaneohe says, whoever is doing their taxes should check the official IRS rules to be absolutely certain, but in all likelihood they can and should file MFJ.

Your choices are MFJ or MFS for in laws
choose whichever one is most advantagous.

A second consideration is look under the DEPENDENCY provisions and see if you can claim them as dependants (might help your tax bill and impact the in laws bill very little).
The nursing home expenses are, generally, deductible medical expenses while assisted living or adult foster care not. I expect that MFJ will be the best option for them and if your experiance was like ours they will have no Federal or State tax liability.
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