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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Medical Expenses Deductions Checklist

April 17, 2014
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If you or your clients paid a lot for health care in the last year, many of those expenses could qualify as a deduction from your taxable income on Form 1040, Schedule A. Use this checklist to determine which medical expenses you can take as a deduction on your income tax return.medical_expense_deduction_checklist

Medical Expense Deduction Tips

  • You have to itemize deductions to claim these expenses.

  • Medical expenses are only deductible to the extent that they exceed 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). If your AGI is $75,000, for example, the first $7,500 of qualified expenses (10% of $75,000) don’t really count for deduction purposes.

  • However, if you're older than 65 years old there is a temporary exemption to the 10% rate. If you or your spouse are 65 years or older, or turned 65 during the tax year, you are allowed to deduct unreimbursed medical care expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. The threshold remains at 7.5% of AGI for those taxpayers until Dec. 31, 2016.

See more medical expense tax deduction tips here.

Medical Expenses Deductions Checklist

The IRS offers the list for qualified medical expenses. We've included a partial list of qualified medical expenses below. For the complete list, see IRS Publication 502.

  • Acupuncture

  • Air conditioner necessary for relief from allergies or other respiratory problems (less any increase in the value of your home resulting from installation of air conditioning)

  • Alcoholism treatment, including inpatient treatment, meals and lodging at a therapeutic center for alcohol addiction

  • Artificial limbs

  • Artificial teeth

  • Birth control pills prescribed by a doctor

  • Braille books and magazines used by a visually-impaired person

  • Contact lenses, including equipment and materials for using contacts

  • Doctor or physician expenses

  • Drug addiction treatment, including in-patient treatment, meals and lodging at a therapeutic center for drug addiction

  • Elastic hosiery to treat blood circulation problems

  • Exercise program if a doctor has recommended it as treatment for a specific condition

  • Eye surgery, such as Lasik or a similar procedure, when it is not for cosmetic purposes only

  • Guide dog or other animal used by a visually-impaired, hearing-impaired or otherwise physically disabled person

  • Hospital care

  • Household help for nursing care services only

  • Insurance premiums for medical care coverage

  • Laboratory fees

  • Lead-based paint removal, including the cost of removing lead-based paints from surfaces when a child has lead poisoning or was previously diagnosed with lead poisoning. (Does not include the cost of repainting.)

  • Legal fees paid to authorize treatment for mental illness

  • Lifetime care advance payments

  • Lodging expenses while away from home to receive medical care in a hospital or medical facility

  • Long-term care insurance and long-term care expenses (there are limitations to what you can deduct)

  • Mattresses and boards bought specifically to alleviate an arthritic condition

  • Medical aids, including wheelchairs, hearing aids and batteries, eyeglasses, contact lenses, crutches, braces and guide dogs (and their care)

  • Medicines and drugs

  • Nursing care

  • Nursing home expenses, including the entire cost of medical care, plus meals and lodging if the main reason for being in the home is to obtain medical care

  • Oxygen and oxygen equipment

  • Special education; tuition for sending a mentally impaired or physically disabled person to a special school that has resources to relieve the disability

  • Smoking cessation programs (does not have to be recommended by a physician)

  • Swimming (the cost of therapeutic swimming prescribed by a physician)

  • Telephone (the cost and repair of special telephone equipment for a hearing-impaired person)

  • Television (the cost of equipment used to display the audio part of a TV program for hearing-impaired persons)

  • Transplant of an organ (but not hair transplants)

  • Transportation costs for obtaining medical care

  • Travel expenses for parents visiting their child in a special school for children with drug problems, where the visits are part of the medical treatment

  • Weight loss program, if it is recommended by a doctor to treat a specific medical condition or to cure any specific ailment or disease

  • Whirlpool baths prescribed by a doctor

  • X-ray services

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