You can claim a medical deduction on Schedule A on money you’re paying for the “diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.” Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. They do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation. [IRS]
Basically you can deduct anything the doctor prescribed. Of course, there’s a limit to this deduction and it’s set at 7.5% of your AGI from your medical expenses. So let’s see what can be deducted:
- Acupuncture - include the amount you pay for acupuncture, it’s a deductible treatment.
- Alcoholism - deduct the cost of the treatment center, including meals and lodging. You can also deduct transportation expenses to and from AA meetings.
- Stop-smoking programs
- Pregnancy test kits, birth control pills and legal abortion, as well as fertility enhancement treatments
- Breast pumps, bandages and medical supplies
- Contact lenses
- Lead-based paint removal
- Oxygen - yes sir, your oxygen is deductible. Of course, we’re not talking about the one you breathe by yourself, freely from the air. We mean the one that the medic prescribes for alleviating a breathing problem or some other medical condition.
- Weigh-loss programs – You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease).
Once you have determined which medical expenses you can include, figure and report the deduction on your tax return. A lesser known fact is that neither the medical practitioner prescribing the treatment nor the method of treatment have to be approved or sanctioned by the American Medical Association. You can claim a tax deduction, as long as the medic and treatment are valid within the patient’s religious or cultural context. Deductions for treatment by Christian Science practitioners and Native American medicine men have also been upheld by the IRS and the courts. [via]
Know any other weird medical expenses we can deduct? Let us know in a comment below! If you’re looking for more tax advice, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the rest of the blog.