With the start of a new year and 2017 behind us, it is time to start planning to file your taxes.  With the exception of those serving in combat zones or stationed outside the U.S., most Marines and their families must file taxes by the April 17 deadline.  

Parents of children with special needs often have unique financial concerns. Tax breaks are one way to alleviate some of these concerns. Are you aware of all the tax deductions and credits you are entitled to? Ask yourself the following questions to determine what deductions and credits you may be eligible for.

Are you considered a Household employer? While respite care reimbursement is not considered taxable income, sponsors who participate in the respite care reimbursement program may incur tax liability as a household employer. IRS Publication 926 will help you determine whether you are a household employer and, if you are, whether you need to pay federal employment taxes.

Can you claim medical and dental expenses? Additional medical care such as equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices can become costly but you may be able to deduct a portion of the cost from your taxes. IRS Publication 502 provides detailed information on what expenses, and whose expenses, are deductible.

Do you qualify to receive a Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled? Are you or a family member retired, on permanent and total disability, and under age 65? You may qualify for the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. See IRS Publication 524 for more details. You can take the credit only if you file your taxes using Form 1040 or 1040A.

Are you eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit? Is one of your family members permanently and totally disabled? In some cases you may be able to claim a relative as a qualifying child under the Earned Income Tax Credit if the relative is totally and permanently disabled and fits all other EITC requirements. See IRS Publication 596 to learn more.

For additional guidance on tax credits and deductions, consult a tax professional or your local legal assistance office. For more information on the Exceptional Family Member Program, click here.