August 2021
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Reduce Your Tax Bill by Deducting Medical and Dental Expenses

Many taxpayers find it beneficial to itemize their deductions on their federal tax return. One of the many deductions you can take are payments you made for medical and dental expenses. But a large number of taxpayers miss some expenses they could have claimed to lower their tax burden because they don’t know they can use it as a medical tax deduction.

What Medical Expenses Can I Claim?

Generally, you can deduct expenses for medical or dental care you paid for yourself, your spouse and any dependents. The most common expenses include:

  • Premiums paid for medical, dental or long-term care insurance
  • Insurance deductibles and co-payments
  • Fees paid to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and mental health practitioners
  • Payments to hospitals, long-term care facilities and services, nursing services and lab fees
  • Cost of prescription drugs and insulin
  • Price of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, hearing aids and false teeth

Additionally, there are other expenses that many taxpayers don’t realize can be deducted from their taxes:

  • Payments for acupuncture treatments
  • Inpatient expenses at an alcohol or drug addiction treatment center
  • Costs for smoking-cessation programs
  • Participation in weight loss programs when they are related to a diagnosed disease, like hypertension or obesity
  • Fees for laser eye surgery, crutches, wheelchairs, and guide dogs for the deaf or blind
  • Transportation costs related to and necessary for qualified medical expenses

What Medical Expenses Are Not Deductible?

When itemizing your medical expenses, be extremely careful about what you deduct. Do not include any of the following expenses.

  • Amounts paid for nicotine gum or patches that do not require a prescription
  • Cost of purchasing diet food items or the cost of health club dues
  • Funeral or burial expenses
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Cosmetic surgeries
  • Premiums for life insurance, for policies providing for loss of wages because of illness or injury, or policies that pay you a guaranteed amount each week for a sickness (i.e. supplemental insurance)

How Do I Claim Medical Expenses?

To deduct your qualified medical expenses, first add up all the payments you made that were not reimbursed by any insurance policy. Be sure once you file your taxes, you keep these receipts and statements as proof of your expenses.

The Internal Revenue Service lets you deduct medical costs as long as they are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). These costs will be reported on Form 1040, Schedule A. The easiest way to be sure your claiming the proper expenses and meeting the AGI requirement is to use an online tax preparation site. The site will ask you specific questions about your expenses and will calculate the amount of your deductions that meets the AGI minimum leaving less room for error or missed deductions. Making the most of your medical deductions will put you well on your way to lowering your tax bill.

Karin Velez PhotoAbout Author
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