Tax Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses

If you have a large medical expense this year, consider itemizing your deductions with TaxSlayer.

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020). 

If you have significant medical expenses that are not reimbursed by your insurance plan or other provider, you may receive some relief when you go to file your taxes. Learn what you can claim as a tax deduction for out-of-pocket medical and dental costs. 

What medical and dental expenses can I deduct on my taxes?

The IRS has defined some qualifying medical expenses, including: 

  • Dental care 
  • Vision care  
  • Preventative care 
  • Treatment 
  • Prescription medications  
  • Surgeries 
  • Visits to psychologists  
  • Visits to psychiatrists 
  • Appliances like glasses, contacts, false teeth and hearing aids  

In addition to these tangible items, the IRS will allow you to deduct certain travel expenses related to medical care. For example, if you are required to travel to a different city to receive specialized treatment, you may be able to deduct mileage, parking fees at the hospital or care facility, and even bus or train fare. 

For a more detailed list of medical and dental items you can deduct, read What kinds of medical and dental expenses can or cannot be deducted? 

Medical expenses that can’t be deducted for taxes

If you pay for some expenses out of pocket but then are reimbursed by your employer or your insurance company, those expenses can’t be deducted on your tax return. If you undergo a procedure for cosmetic reasons, you can’t deduct those expenses. Drugs taken without a prescription are also not able to be deducted unless it is insulin.  

Healthrelated items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, fitness memberships, vitamins and supplements, and diet plans can’t be deducted. You are also only able to claim expenses that were paid for in the tax year in question; prior year medical expenses can’t be deducted. 

How much can I deduct for medical expenses? 

The IRS allowed you to deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your AGI for tax year 2019 and before. In 2020, the threshold has increased to 10% of your adjusted gross income. Remember: these expenses must be unreimbursed. 

How to claim the medical expenses deduction

You must itemize your deductions to claim your medical costs, so you will need to file a Schedule A. When you file your return, TaxSlayer will make sure all the information is entered in the correct place and the calculations are 100% accurate.   

For more specific information on claiming this deduction, read Can I claim my medical and dental expenses? 

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