Hi, I am wondering if I can write off the mileage to take FD to/from her visits? They are court-ordered and it's about a 25 mile round trip from our house, so it will add up to be a significant number of miles.
Also, any other things I should be thinking of writing off or keeping records of? We've had FD since last March, so we're well over the 6 month mark. Also, we paid over $4500 out of pocket for preschool/childcare. I do plan to write that off. We are not in this for the money, but our out of pocket expenses do exceed the stipend, so it would be helpful to write off whatever we can.
Thanks in advance. I did search the boards for tax info, but some of it is old and I know some things have changed and I'm a little short on time these days for some cute little reason. :D
Does your state reimburse your mileage for visits, doctor appointments, court, etc? Ours does here if our trips exceed 15 miles. But some states consider the stipend received to be part of the reimbursement of extra expenses such as mileage, clothing, etc. For example, our state considers trips less than 15 miles to be part of the normal stipend amount. (Those above that are reimbursed.) So no, you would not be able to "write off" the mileage. As it is considered that you are getting "reimbursed" for that in your monthly stipend. But keep in mind, you are also not including the stipend in income either.
I found this:
Charitable Contribution
As long as you have a foster child in your care, you should keep detailed receipts for everything you spend in caring for that child. This should include basic living expenses, school expenses, extracurricular activities and any other expense that has been incurred to care for the child. At the end of the year, determine the total amount you spent to care for the child. Compare this amount to the total reimbursement payment you received from the state or foster care agency. If the total cost of items spent in the care for this child is more than the reimbursement received, the remainder can be deducted as a charitable contribution.
Yes, IF your agency does not reimburse for your mileage.
I will tell you that DH and I kept a VERY detailed record of exactly how many miles we drove in 2011 because our agency does not reimburse mileage. We kept 2 logs...1 for mileage for medical appointments and one for mileage for visits. Visits are considered a charitable deduction and you can claim 14 cents/mile. For medical it must be a child you can claim as a dependent and you can claim 19 cents/mile (Jan 1 to June 30) or 23.5 cents/mile (July 1 to Dec 31).
We had 2500 non medical miles and about 2600 medical miles. It didn't help us much. We didn't have enough medical expenses to get us to 7.5% of our AGI, so we claimed all our foster child miles as a charitable deduction at 14 cents/mile, so it was a $714 charitable contribution to our agency.
[url][/url] (page 5)
[url][/url] (medical mileage on 1st page)
In my understanding you either claim the child as a dependent (in which case you can't claim anything else) or else you don't claim them as a dependent but any monies spent on them above and beyond your reimbursed per diem can be considered charitable deductions.
And keep in mind- to deduct the charitible donations, you must itemize your deductions rather than use the standard deduction. That may be a non-issue for you though, I don't know your tax situation.
In my understanding you either claim the child as a dependent (in which case you can't claim anything else) or else you don't claim them as a dependent but any monies spent on them above and beyond your reimbursed per diem can be considered charitable deductions.
Sort of...there are some factors that can come into play.
If the child is your qualifying child AND goal is not adoption of the child by you (ie, the child has been placed in your home with a goal of RU and that goal stands at RU as of 12/31/11) you can claim them both as a qualifying child AND the support provided above your stipend as a charitable deduction (in all cases you will need to prove the expenses paid were in excess of your agency provided support)
If the child is your qualifying child and the established goal is adoption by you, you cannot claim support as a charitable contribution.
If this child is not your qualifying child or qualifying relative you can deduct support above your stipend as a charitable contribution.
Foster parents. You may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution some of the costs of a foster parent (foster care provider) if have no profit motive in providing the foster care and are not, in fact, making a profit. A qualified organization must designate the individuals you take into your home for foster care.
You can deduct expenses that meet both of the following requirements.
1. They are unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses to feed, clothe, and care for the foster child.
2. They must be mainly to benefit the qualified organization.
Unreimbursed expenses that you cannot deduct as charitable contributions may be considered support provided by you in determining whether you can claim the foster child as a dependent. For details, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.
So what that means...
If you need to prove you supported the child in order to claim him/her (test to be a qualifying relative), you can choose to claim that you provided more than 50% of the support (this is 50% that YOU provided. You need to prove that above what the agency reimbursed you that you provided more than 50% of the child's support), in which case you cannot ALSO claim that support as a charitable contribution.
In my case, my FFS meets all 5 requirements to be my qualifying child. I am not using the unreimbursed expenses as support in order to determine he is a qualifying relative, therefore I can claim his unreimbursed expenses as a charitable contribution.
In my AD's case. In 2010 she was a foster child with a goal of RU. If her case had stayed that way I could have claimed her as my qualifying child and claimed expenses above my stipend. However, in November 2010 her case was changed to adoption by foster parent. So then I am fostering her with the goal of adopting her and I can no longer claim that I am fostering her for the benefit of an outside organization.
Basically it boils down to, you can't claim it as support AND as a charitable contribution. It's one or the other. To be a qualifying child they only need to meet the 5 criteria to be a qualifying child...and support provided by the parent doesn't factor into that test (unless the child is considered a qualifying child of more than one person).
ImpactingLives is 100% correct. Read her response carefully, everything in it is important, especially the part about whether the child's goal is adoption by you.
In your case, since the child has been with you since March, she is most likely your qualifying child (not qualifying relative) and that makes the end of her post a little easier for you.
Make sure you keep your receipts well! You will have to prove the amount you're claiming if you're audited.