Brinker Writes About Tax Benefits for Parents of Special Needs Children

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 22, 2011

Thomas M. Brinker Jr., LL.M., CPA, Professor and Accounting Program Coordinator, presented “Examining Tax Benefits Available to Families with Special Needs Children” on March 10 at the National Business and Economics Society Conference in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

Brinker also recently co-authored an article on “Revisiting Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Special Needs” in Exceptional Parent, part of a three-part series than ran August through October in 2010.”

“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that up to 500,000 individuals under the age of 21 have autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and other neurological disorders,” according to the article. “This translates to an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S. have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is now the sixth most commonly classified disability in the United States. These increasing numbers are already beginning to impact state and local governmentally funded programs as they face shortfalls, forcing parents to absorb more of their children’s medical care and other related expenses.

“The disruption of the lives of all those concerned is unmistakable—as are the costs of providing care for the special needs child. Further complicating the situation, parents with special needs children are often unaware of the substantial tax benefits that are available to them and forego hundreds, if not thousands, of potential tax deductions and reductions in their tax liability. Michael A. O’Connor, an attorney who has written extensively on this topic, believes that 15-30 percent of families with a disabled child have one or more unclaimed tax benefits. Among these potential tax benefits are deductions or credits for medical expenses, special instruction, child and dependent care, and adoption costs. This article outlines some of the tax aspects of caring for children with special needs.”