My father passed away in March 2019. That same month Mom had to be placed in assisted living. I have been paying the assisted living costs for Mom. I want to claim her either as a dependent or as a qualifying person to file my return as head of household.
Can I file my parents as married filing separately and claim my mother on my return?
So sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It can be a very difficult time in your life. Adding on your mother’s situation makes it exceedingly traumatic.
I’m not a tax expert and don’t have a clue about your question so I turned to my friend Jim Buttonow who is a tax expert.
Here is what Jim said.
“Joe can claim Head of Household if he meets these three criteria for his Mom:
- Joe is unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
- Joe can claim his Mom as a dependent.
- Joe paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for his Mom for the tax year. Joe’s dependent Mom doesn’t have to live with him.
To claim his Mom as a dependent, Joe must meet the following tests:
- Joe (and his spouse if filing jointly) are not a dependent of another taxpayer.
- Joe’s Mom, if married, doesn’t file a joint return, unless his Mom and Dad file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid.
- Joe’s Mom is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
- Joe paid more than half of his Mom’s support for the calendar year.
- Joe’s Mom’s gross income for the calendar year was less than $4200. (does not include social security)
It sounds like Joe can claim his Mom as a dependent, and can also use Head of Household filing status.
I would have to know more about Joe’s Mom and Dad’s income to give a more specific answer- but their parents can file a joint return (if they are filing only to get a refund).”