IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2011

Social Security benefits may be stagnant, but the IRS is increasing the amount you can deduct on your 2011 taxes as a result of buying long-term care insurance.

Premiums for “qualified” long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible provided that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed 7.5 percent of the insured’s adjusted gross income. These premiums — what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force — are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents. (If you are self-employed, the tax-deductibility rules are a little different: You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as you made a net profit; your medical expenses do not have to exceed 7.5 percent of your income.)

However, there is a limit on how large a premium can be deducted, depending on the age of the taxpayer at the end of the year. Following are the deductibility limits for 2011. Any premium amounts for the year above these limits are not considered to be a medical expense.

Attained age before the close of the taxable year Maximum deduction for year
40 or less $340
More than 40 but not more than 50 $640
More than 50 but not more than 60 $1,270
More than 60 but not more than 70 $3,390
More than 70 $4,240

What Is a “Qualified” Policy?

To be “qualified,” policies issued on or after January 1, 1997, must adhere to certain requirements, among them that the policy must offer the consumer the options of “inflation” and “nonforfeiture” protection, although the consumer can choose not to purchase these features. Policies purchased before January 1, 1997, will be grandfathered and treated as “qualified” as long as they have been approved by the insurance commissioner of the state in which they are sold. For more on the “qualified” definition, click here.

The Georgetown University Long-Term Care Financing Project has a two-page fact sheet, “Tax Code Treatment of Long-Term Care and Long-Term Care Insurance.” To download it in PDF format, go to: http://ltc.georgetown.edu/pdfs/taxcode.pdf

(If you do not have the free PDF reader installed on your computer, download it here.)

To discuss elder law issues with an attorney, please email the Elder Law Center or call 630-844-0065. The Elder Law Center is located in Aurora, IL, Kane County, in the Chicago Western Suburbs.

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