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What Medical Expenses Are Tax Deductible?

what medical expenses are tax deductible

Tax deductions can drastically reduce your total tax liability and allow you to save money. While medical bills can be a significant hardship for many individuals and families, it is critical to understand that certain medical expenses are tax deductible. Understanding the eligibility criteria and documentation requirements will help you in optimizing your deductions and possibly lowering your tax payment. In this post, we will look at medical expenses that are tax deductible. 

Tax Deductible Medical Expenses 

You might be surprised to hear that the IRS lists over 80 medical expenses that you can deduct from your taxes. While the full list of eligible expenses can be found on IRS Publication 502, some common expenses include: 

  • Acupuncture 
  • Ambulance services 
  • Braille reading materials 
  • Costs incurred to accommodate your home to a disabled condition 
  • Costs incurred to install special equipment in your vehicle that accommodates a disabled condition 
  • Chiropractor 
  • Contact lenses 
  • Dental treatment 
  • Eye exams 
  • Fertility treatment 
  • Hearing aids 
  • Lab fees 
  • Medicines 
  • Nursing home expenses 
  • Physical exams 
  • Psychiatric care 
  • Transplants 
  • X-rays 

Medical Expenses That Are Not Tax Deductible 

You should always be aware of the medical expenses you may not deduct during tax time including but not limited to: 

  • Cosmetic surgery (some limitations apply) 
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Future medical care 
  • Maternity clothes 
  • Nonprescription drugs and medicines 
  • Nutritional supplements 

How to Claim Medical Expense Deductions 

In order to deduct medical expenses on your tax return, you will need to itemize your deductions. That being said, it is really only worth doing if your medical expenses exceed the standard deduction. The 2023 standard deduction is $13,850 for a single filer and those who are married but filing separately, $27,700 for married couples filing jointly, and $20,800 for heads of households. These figures are set to increase for tax year 2024 to the following:  

  • Single Filers, Married Couples Filing Separately: $14,600 
  • Married Couples Filing Jointly: $29,200 
  • Heads of Households: $21,900 

If it seems itemizing your deductions would save you money than taking the standard deduction, you can deduct your qualified medical expenses using Schedule A. Keep in mind that you may only deduct unreimbursed medical expenses paid during the year previous. In addition, you can only deduct expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, if your AGI is $45,000, then the first $3,375 (7.5% of $45,000) of qualified medical expenses cannot be deducted. Anything that exceeds $3,375 can be deducted. Assuming you had $10,000 of unreimbursed medical expenses for the year, you would be allowed to deduct $6,625 of it on your tax return. 

If you do decide to deduct medical expenses during tax time, be sure to keep adequate records of your expenses during the year. Keep receipts, invoices, statements, and any other relevant documentation that validate your medical expenses. Not doing so can result in financial loss, risk of audits, and dealing with the IRS. If the IRS has reached out to you about your tax situation, we can help. Optima Tax Relief has over a decade of experience helping taxpayers with tough tax situations. 

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