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Category: Finding Deductions

What kinds of medical and dental expenses can or cannot be deducted?

If you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct expenses you paid for medical care – including dental – for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. You may deduct only the amount by which your total medical care expenses for the year exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% of your AGI if either you or your spouse is age 65 or older). You do this calculation on Form 1040, Schedule A in computing the amount deductible.

Examples of Medical and Dental Payments you CAN deduct:

  • Insurance premiums for medical and dental care, including premiums for qualified long-term care contracts. You must reduce the insurance premiums by any self-employed health insurance deductions. You cannot deduct insurance premiums paid with pre tax dollars because the premiums are not included in box 1 of your Form W-2.
  • Prescription medicines or insulin
  • Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, eye doctors, medical doctors, occupational therapists, osteopathic doctors, physical therapists, podiatrists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts (medical care only), and psychologists
  • Medical examinations, X-ray and laboratory services, insulin treatment, and whirlpool baths your doctor ordered.
  • Diagnostic tests, such as full-body scan, pregnancy test, or blood sugar test kit.
  • Nursing help (including your share of the employment taxes paid). If you paid someone to do both nursing and housework, you can only deduct the cost for the nursing help. Do not include nursing care for a healthy baby.
  • Hospital care (including inpatient meals and lodging), clinic costs, and lab fees.
  • Qualified long-term care services.
  • The supplemental part of Medicare insurance (Medicare B).
  • The premiums you pay for Medicare Part D insurance.
  • A program to stop smoking and for prescription medicines to alleviate nicotine withdrawal. However, you cannot include any amounts you pay for drugs that do not require a prescription. Do not include nicotine gum or patches.
  • A weight-loss program as treatment for a specific disease (including obesity, hypertension, and heart disease) diagnosed by a doctor. Do not include fees for membership to a gym, health club, or spa. Also, do not include the cost of diet food or beverages because the diet foods substitute for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs. You can only include the cost of the special food if it satisfies ALL of the following conditions:
    o The food does NOT satisfy normal nutritional needs
    o The food alleviates or treats an illness
    o The need for the food is substantiated by a physician
  • Medical treatment at a center for drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Medical aids such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, braces, crutches, wheelchairs, and guide dogs, including the cost of maintaining them.
  • Surgery to improve defective vision such as laser eye surgery or radial keratotomy.
  • Lodging expenses (but not meals) while away from home to receive medical care in a hospital or a medical care facility related to a hospital, provided there was no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. The lodging must be primarily for and essential to medical care. Do not deduct more than $50 a night for each eligible person.
  • Ambulance service and other travel costs to get medical care.
  • Artificial teeth
  • Birth control pills prescribed by a doctor
  • Fertility enhancement procedures to overcome an inability to have children, such as in vitro fertilization and surgery, including an operation to reverse prior surgery that prevented the person operated on from having children.

Transportation: You can include in medical expenses amounts of transportation primarily for, and essential to, medical care.

You can include:

  • Bus, taxi, train, or plane fares or ambulance
  • Transportation expenses of a parent who must go with a child who needs medical care,
  • Transportation expenses of a nurse or other person who can give injections, medications, or other treatment required by a patient who is traveling to get medical care and is unable to travel alone,
  • Transportation expenses for regular visits to see a mentally ill dependent, if these visits are recommended as a part of treatment.

You cannot include:

  • Going to and from work, even if your condition requires an unusual means of transportation.
  • Travel for purely personal reasons to another city for an operation or other medical care.
  • Travel that is merely for the general improvement of one's health.

Examples of Medical and Dental Payments you CANNOT deduct:

  • Health club dues, gym membership fees, or spa dues.
  • Electrolysis or hair removal.
  • The cost of diet food or nutritional supplements (vitamins, herbal supplements, "natural medicines").
  • Teeth whitening.
  • Veterinary fees.
  • Cosmetic surgery unless it was necessary to improve a deformity related to a congenital abnormality, an injury from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease.
  • Life insurance or income protection policies.
  • The Medicare tax on your wages and tips or the Medicare tax paid as part of the self-employment tax or household employment taxes.
  • Babysitting, childcare, and nursing care for a healthy baby.
  • Illegal operations or drugs.
  • Imported drugs not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This includes foreign-made versions of US-approved drugs manufactured without FDA approval.
  • Non prescription medicines (including nicotine gum and certain nicotine patches).
  • Travel your doctor told you to take for rest or a change.
  • Funeral, burial, or cremation costs.

For more detailed information please visit the following link to IRS Publication 502, "Medical and Dental Expenses": http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf and see the information beginning on page 2 and 3.

If you did pay any qualifying medical expenses during the tax year, you can enter these under: Deductions > Itemized Deductions > Medical and Dental Expenses.