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State Gives $500 Tax Credit for Qualified Caregivers

Many Taxpayers Overlook State's Long-Term Care Tax Credit

California's long-term caregivers may qualify to claim the $500 Long-Term Care Credit on their 2003 California state income tax return, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

To qualify: you, your spouse, or your dependent must require long-term care that will last for at least 180 consecutive days and have a doctor's certification to verify the long-term care needs. The qualifying person providing the care-who may also be the one who needs the care, takes the credit. Providing care means either caring for the person in need yourself or paying for someone to provide the care. This credit is unique because it is not necessarily a reimbursement of expenses as are most other tax credits.

“I encourage qualifying taxpayers to take full advantage of this unique credit,” said State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly. “A $500 tax credit can help ease the financial burden of caring for a loved one.”

“The vast majority of Californians with disabilities are living in the communities and are cared for by family members,” said Lynda Terry, director of the California Department of Aging. “We hope this tax credit can assist caregivers in meeting financial pressures of caring for an individual and reinforce the value of their services.”

The credit is available to taxpayers whose California adjusted gross income is under $100,000. The Franchise Tax Board encourages taxpayers to look at this credit closely as they suspect many qualified taxpayers miss it because there is no similar federal tax credit.

The person receiving the care must meet age-related, long-term care requirements as explained in FTB Form 3504, Long-Term Care Credit. To claim the credit, taxpayers must provide the name of the individual needing the long-term care, the individual's social security number, and the medical license number of the physician who has certified the individual as needing the long-term care.

To learn more about this credit, visit the Franchise Tax Board's Website at www.ftb.ca.gov/forms and select current year publications, FTB 802, Long-Term Care Credit: Frequently Asked Questions.