John Bullis: Medical expenses for income tax deductions
November 20, 2012
The definition of Medical Expenses that can be claimed on form 1040, Schedule A as Itemized Deductions is very broad.
The regular income tax reduces the medical expenses deduction by 7.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income. The Alternative Minimum Tax reduces the deduction by 10 percent of Alternative Minimum Tax Adjusted Gross Income.
The published IRS statistics show many taxpayers that have claimed Itemized Deductions have deductible medical expenses.
The allowable expenses include many items. Of course medical insurance premiums count, including the Part B and Part D Medicare premiums. Also direct expenses like doctor and dentist fees, prescriptions, lab fees, eyeglasses, hearing aids and travel to and from medical treatment or even to get prescriptions are medical expenses.
Some of the more overlooked deductions include cost of attendant to go with a blind or deaf student; special educational aids to mitigate a medical condition and childbirth preparation classes for the mother (but not the “coach”).
Cosmetic surgery that is necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from a congenital abnormality, personal injury or disfiguring disease qualifies. But unnecessary cosmetic surgery does not qualify.
Lodging for care not provided in a hospital or equivalent outpatient facility is OK, but is limited to $50 per night. Note that the amount has not been increased for inflation for many years.
Teeth whitening is not a deduction, but of course artificial teeth (dentures) do qualify.
The cost of a wig that is for alleviation of mental discomfort resulting from a disease is allowed. Also a reclining chair for a cardiac patient qualifies.
The excess cost of orthopedic shoes qualifies and so does the cost of a program to stop smoking. Weight loss programs for treatment of a specific disease qualifies.
The cost of long term care expenses you pay can be very big and is deductible. It might be good to look into long term care insurance. Those premiums are deductible up to certain limits, based on age.
Illegal drugs are not qualified, even when prescribed, but prescription drugs are OK.
It may be worth your time to see if the expense you pay qualifies for a deduction.
Did you hear? “If it is, it is; if it’s not, it’s not,” by Ziggy Marley.
• John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser serving Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs, LLC.
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