Medical Expense Deductions
If you itemize your deductions, you can deduct medical and dental expenses if they are paid as prevention, mitigation, diagnosis, or cure of a physical or mental illness.
They do not include medical expenses that are cosmetic or beneficial to general health.
You can only deduct the amount of your medical care expenses that is more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
For instance, if your adjusted gross income is $100,000, then your medical expenses have to exceed $7,500 ($100,000 x 7.5%). So, if your medical expenses total $8,000 then you will be able to deduct $500.
Don't worry. TurboTax will guide you through these calculations and give the maximum benefit.
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers:
Whose medical expenses can I deduct?
Generally you can deduct medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents.
You must be married to your spouse at the time your spouse received medical services or at the time you paid the services.
A person must be a dependent at the time the services were provided or when you paid the services.
Who is considered a dependent?
A person is a dependent if two qualifications are met:
- The person is a qualifying child or a qualifying relative.
- The person was a U.S. Citizen, or national, or resident of the US, Canada, or Mexico.
You can include medical expenses of individuals that would have been considered dependents although:
- The individual received $3800 or more.
- The individual files a joint return, or
- You, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return.
A “qualifying child” is a child who is:
- Your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister or a descendant of any of them.
- Adopted child before adoption, if child qualifies as dependent when medical expenses are incurred or paid.
- Was under the age of 19 and younger than you at the end of the tax year, under the age of 24 if a full time student and younger than you, and any age if permanently and fully disabled.
- Lived with you for over half of the tax year.
- Did not provide over half of his or her support.
- Did not file a joint return, other than to claim a refund.
A “qualifying relative” is a relative who is:
- Your son, daughter, stepchild, or foster child, or a descendant of any of them.
- Your brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, or a son or daughter of any of them.
- Father or mother, or an ancestor or sibling of either of them.
- Stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
- Any other person besides your spouse who lives with you the entire year.
- Not a qualifying child of any taxpayer for the tax year and for who you provided over half of the support in the tax year.
Can I deduct medical expenses for a non-dependent?
Generally, the only non-dependent you can deduct medical expenses for are yourself and your spouse.
A person must be your dependent at the time services were rendered or at the time services were paid by you.
Can I deduct pre-tax medical expenses?
Pre-tax medical expenses are savings accounts set up by you or your employer to save your money for future medical expenses.
Since the money is deducted from your wages before tax(tax-free), you cannot take a medical expense deduction.
TIP: Many taxpayers set up these accounts since they are 100% tax free and the taxpayers do not qualify for taking medical expenses as an itemized deduction, as the expenses must exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.
See IRS Publication 502 for more on Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, and Health Reimbursement Accounts.
Can I deduct the premiums taken out of my paycheck every month?
Yes you can deduct medical and dental care coverage deducted for medical insurance as long as they are not premiums paid to an employer-sponsored health plan with pre-tax dollars.
The medical portion of auto, life, loss of earnings, loss of life, limb or sight, or guaranteed payments are not deductible.
Are medical payments deducted from my paycheck for insurance deductible as medical expenses?
Yes, you can deduct medical payments taken out of your paycheck for insurance as long as the payments were not pre-tax (100% tax-free) deductions for an employer-sponsored medical savings plan.
Can you deduct medical expenses that were paid for with a flex spending account?
No as Flexible Spending Accounts allow you to save pre-tax money (100% tax- free) using your payroll deductions for future medical expenses.
Many taxpayers find these 100% tax-free accounts more beneficial than trying to qualify for the medical expense deduction.
What medical expenses are deductible?
You can deduct any:
- Medical and dental expenses that are primarily for the diagnosis, cure, relief, treatment, or prevention of disease and for the alleviation or prevention of physical or mental defect or illness.
Medical expenses provided by:
- Eye Doctors
- Medical Doctors
- Osteopathic Doctors
- Physical Therapists
- Other medical practitioners
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Prescription Medicine
- Amounts paid for Qualified Long-Term Insurance
- Medical insurance premiums, except ones paid to an employer-sponsored pre-tax plan. Unless the premiums and other expenses paid by the plan are included in box 1 of your W-2.
- Amounts you pay if you are not covered by social security for Medicare B,D, and A
Can I deduct immunization shots for a mission trip?
Yes immunizations are deductible as they are for the prevention of disease or physical illness.
Are chiropractor fees, massage therapy fees, or health supplements deductible?
Chiropractor fees and message therapy fees are both deductible as they are for prevention, mitigation, diagnosis, or cure of a physical illness.
Health supplements are not deductible unless recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a physician diagnosed medical condition.
Can I deduct medical expenses from having a baby?
Medical fees paid to your obstetrician and for your hospital stay are deductible.
Maternity clothes, babysitting, childcare, nursing for a normal healthy baby are not deductible.
Can I claim my gym membership as a medical deduction?
You cannot deduct the cost of a gym membership.
The cost of a gym membership is for business, pleasure, or other social purpose, which you paid to improve your general health or relieve physical or mental discomfort not related to a particular medical condition.
Can you deduct seminars for medical conditions?
You can deduct medical seminars and conferences only if they are related to the chronic illness of yourself, your spouse, or your dependent.
Cost must be primarily for the medical care of you, your spouse, or your dependant. The majority of time spent at the conference must be spent attending sessions on medical information.
When I visit a doctor through my HMO, can I deduct my co-pay?
Yes you can deduct your co-pay as long as it was not paid out of an employer-sponsored tax-free medical savings plan.
If the co-pay is paid from a Flexible Spending, Health Savings, or Health Reimbursement account it is not deductible.
Can I deduct over-the-counter medicine or controlled substances?
No, except for insulin, you cannot deduct non-prescription drugs.
Although controlled substances such as medical marijuana and laetrile may have been legalized by state law, they still violate federal law and therefore cannot be deducted either.
Can you deduct the mileage for picking up your medicine?
Yes, the cost of using your car to pick up your medicine is considered a necessary expense for your medical care.
You can deduct the mileage which is a standard expense or the actual expenses(cost of gas and oil). The standard mileage rate for 2012 is 23 cents per mile.
Can I deduct the expense of parking for doctor visits?
You are allowed to deduct parking and tolls paid for doctor visits whether you use the standard mileage rate or actual expenses for transportation related to medical care.
Can I deduct medical expenses if they have not all been paid?
No, you can only include medical and dental expenses in the year paid, regardless of when the service was provided and regardless of your accounting method.
The date medical expenses are paid depends on your payment method.
- Pay-by- check - Day you mail or deliver check is the day the expense is paid.
- Pay-by-Phone - Date reported on financial institution’s statements as paid is the date of payment.
- Credit card - Deductible when charged, not paid.