Tax Tips: Deductible medical expenses

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If you itemize your deductions on your personal tax return, you may be able to take a deduction for medical expenses you paid during the year. The catch is that you can only deduct the expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You probably won't get over that threshold unless your income was very low and/or your medical expenses were very high.

What medical expenses are deductible? Typically the normal medical expenses we all think of are deductible: doctor visits, hospital stays, dentist visits, prescriptions, normal medical procedures, ambulance services, physical therapy, eyeglasses, and the like.

What's not deductible? More unusual items, such as elective cosmetic surgery, illegal drugs, dancing lessons, hair removal, hair transplants, and health club dues.

The IRS has a lengthy list of items that it specifically defines as deductible and not deductible in Publication 502.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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