Rules for Deducting Your Medical and Dental Expenses
Tax law has changed recently as it relates to deducting your medical and dental expenses. It is important to stay current on the rules that guide this process so that you can claim all possible deductions and keep as much money in your pocket as possible. We have compiled a list of some of the most important things to keep in mind as you tackle this part of your tax return.
- Cannot take the standard deduction: To deduct your medical and dental expenses, you MUST itemize your deductions. If you use a standard deduction, you cannot deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses.
- Deduction Threshold: In order to deduct your medical and dental expenses, you must itemize your deductions AND the total amount of your qualified deductions must be greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income. You should note that the 10% threshold is up from 7.5% prior to January 1, 2013.
There is one very important exception to this threshold…if you are married and you or your spouse are 65 years old or older, the threshold stays at 7.5% until December 31, 2016.
- Dates matter: All of the medical and dental expenses that you deduct must have been made in the same calendar year as your taxes. If you paid by check, the IRS generally considers the date paid as the date the check was mailed/delivered. If you pay by credit card, the transaction date or date that you make the purchase is considered the date paid.
- Qualifying deductions: The IRS is very liberal when it comes to what they allow taxpayers to deduct. You can deduct any medical and dental expenses incurred by you, your spouse or your children (if they are still considered dependents). You can deduct expenses related to diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, including things like equipment and supplies. You can also deduct things like glasses, eye exams, prescriptions, visits to a chiropractor, psychologist, or for acupuncture. Check the IRS website if you have questions about other medical or dental expenses that qualify for deduction.
- Expenses that do not qualify: You cannot deduct everything related to your health. Specifically, you cannot deduct items that simply benefit your general health like vitamins and vaccines. You also cannot deduct cosmetic surgery that is not medically necessary. Unfortunately, you cannot deduct expenses that hit your health savings or flexible spending account as these funds are withdrawn on a tax free basis.
- Travel expenses: You can also deduct travel expenses to and from medical or dental appointments. If you drive your own vehicle, you can deduct 0.24/mile driven (for 2013).
Achieve success with your taxes…
If you have questions about which of your medical and dental expenses are deductible, give Success Tax Relief a call for help. We can provide general, sound and trusted advice so that you make decisions for your return based on current information and tax law. Our professionals are standing by at (877) 958-6638 to help you. Get a jumpstart on your taxes this year!