Q: My parent is in a nursing facility. I am contributing a bit over half the funds each month to keep them at the facility. I was wondering if I can deduct my payments to the facility on my tax return.

M.D.

Answer: In some instances, nursing home expenses are allowable as medical expenses, according to the Internal Revenue Service, but there are a lot of variables involved. Here are the guidelines the IRS provided:

  • “If you or someone who was your spouse or your dependent, either when the service was provided or when you paid the expense, is in a nursing home primarily for medical care, then the entire cost including meals and lodging is deductible as a medical expense.”
  • “If the individual is in the home mainly for personal reasons, then only the cost of the actual medical care is deductible as a medical expense, not the cost of the meals and lodging.”

To determine if your parent qualifies as your dependent for this purpose, refer to “Whose Medical Expenses Can You Include” and “Nursing Home” in Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses. You can find that publication at www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-502

“The total of all allowable medical expenses must be reduced by 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income,” according to the IRS. “Please note: Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, all taxpayers may deduct only the amount of the total unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.”

More Book Donation Options

Here are some more options for people wanting to donate books to a good cause:

  • Davie County Friends of the Library is taking donations of books for its fundraising book sale, which will be held at the Davie County Public Library, 371 N. Main St. in Mocksville, on Oct. 18 and 19.
  • Friends of Central Library in Forsyth County is seeking donations of books and other media (DVDs, CDs, etc.) that are in good condition for its book sale, which will be held Nov. 15-17.

All donations will benefit Central Library Collections and various ongoing programs, including the Children’s and Teens summer reading programs and the Junior Library Guild subscriptions.

They are particularly looking for history and military books, biographies, literary classics, North Carolina and regional titles, children’s books and current text books.

Donations can be taken to the main library’s information desk, at 660 W. Fifth St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donations are tax deductible, and receipts are provided on request. For more information, or to check about bringing in large collections, email FriendsofCentralLibrary@gmail.com or call 336-761-0736 or 336-327-7888.

They are also looking for volunteers to help with book sorting and shelving for the sale; use the same contact information. Volunteers are needed for two to three hours each week, usually on Monday mornings.

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Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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