This year, there is a new Tax Credit for those caring for disabled loved ones, the Family Caregiver Amount. For those of us with disabled children, we need to make sure we claim it.
I spent a lot of Sunday wrestling with what I thought was a “bug” with TurboTax, thinking that it had not given me this credit (which although is a $2000 non-refundable Tax Credit, it becomes a $300 real credit). It turns out that TurboTax’s Forms (not to be confused with the CRA form), wasn’t really showing things correctly.
I came to this conclusion after about 2 hours of changing values and not seeing an obvious change, so I decided to walk away from my task (my new methodology so that I don’t obsess over things for a long time (as I normally do) (for those who point out that 2 hours agonizing over a piece of software is a bit obsessive, DUH!)), but first I printed out my return to look it over (later).
After a suitable waiting period (the next day), I looked at the hard copy of my return and sure enough TurboTax had actually claimed the credit however not on line 303, 315 or 305 as I thought it should, it put it on line 367 on Schedule 1 (since the credit is for my son, who is disabled and born after 1995).
Finding this entry allayed my concerns about my return, however, I was a little concerned since TurboTax did not seem to “import from the previous year” that my Son was disabled, and I had to manually go into the TurboTax forms to reset the “Disabled” Flag in the system. If you have a disabled dependent, do a double-check on your return to make sure you have claimed all credits that are available to you.
So my actual purpose of this post was mostly to point out the importance of making sure that you claim the Family Caregiver Amount on your taxes (if you are caring for a disabled loved one).
I can get that the software does not automatically carry forward the disability flag. There are some disabilities that improve and some that you need to get a new Dr’s letter for. But it should prompt you saying “Last year you had this deduction. Are you still eligible this year?” If there’s a simple way to provide feedback to the manufacturer, you may want to send them a note. (Hey, maybe if they use your suggestion they could give you a free copy next year as a reward?)
And I hate the “claim” vs “reality” thing with taxes. It makes the government sound generous in ads “Claim $500 per kid for sports!” when in reality its a puny savings of $75. And what’s worse is it antagonizes other taxpayers who can’t make the claim but who don’t get how small it really is. They should have to state what the maximum savings is in their ads.
I think I may send them a note just asking why they don’t do this, it would make life simpler.