How do I get a Medical Expenses Tax Deduction?

April S. Kenyon

In order to get a medical expenses tax deduction on your income taxes, you must have incurred medical expenses that can legally be claimed as tax deductible, and you must complete the proper forms either by filing paperwork or by completing the forms online. To get a medical expenses tax deduction, you typically must itemize your individual deductions when filing your income taxes. The types of medical deductions that you are allowed to deduct will vary by jurisdiction and can depend on such factors as type of illness, diagnosis and treatment. Tax deductible medical expenses generally include only those costs that were the direct result of either prevention or mitigation of an illness or defect.

Checkups might be deductible if they surpass a certain percentage of a person's income.
Checkups might be deductible if they surpass a certain percentage of a person's income.

When claiming the medical expenses tax deduction, you typically are allowed to deduct only those medical costs that surpass a certain percentage of the adjusted gross income you report for that year. The exact percentage that is allowed can vary from one jurisdiction to another, so be sure to check with your government's tax department. If the total of all medical expenses incurred throughout the year do not add up to more than this minimum amount, then you typically will not be allowed to take the medical expenses tax deduction.

Medical costs that might not be deductible include funeral expenses.
Medical costs that might not be deductible include funeral expenses.

Medical expenses that are allowed can include doctor’s fees, hospital stays, testing, dental fees, surgical fees and any number of medical costs directly associated with a specific illness or prevention of a disease. With the exception of insulin, only drugs prescribed by a medical professional licensed to write prescriptions are usually allowed to be taken as a medical expenses tax deduction. The expense of medically necessary aids can also be claimed as a medical expenses deduction in many cases. These aids might include such items as prescription eyewear, false teeth, wheelchairs, guide dogs and other types of medical aids that are necessary for daily living and quality of life.

Most prescription drugs can be used as a medical expenses tax deduction, if the order is written by a licensed medical professional.
Most prescription drugs can be used as a medical expenses tax deduction, if the order is written by a licensed medical professional.

In addition to those medical expenses acquired from physicians, hospitals, testing and treatment, you might also be allowed to deduct “medical miles.” These include any mileage fees that resulted from driving to and from medical procedures, checkups or appointments. You might even be able to deduct mileage fees that result from trips to the pharmacy or expenses associated with admission and travel to medical conferences related to your specific medical condition. You generally are not allowed, however, to claim any deductions associated with meals or accommodations at the conference.

Medical costs that might not be deductible include those expenses that are of a voluntary nature. These costs include cosmetic surgery, funeral expenses, over-the-counter medications, maternity clothing and any other expenses resulting from procedures that are not considered to be medically necessary and are voluntary in nature. Additionally, you typically cannot claim any health insurance premiums that are paid through an employer as a medical expenses deduction. You often can, however, claim health insurance premiums if you are self-employed or carry a health insurance policy that is not sponsored by your employer.

An individual may need the services of a tax professional to benefit from every deduction, exemption, and credit he or she is eligible for.
An individual may need the services of a tax professional to benefit from every deduction, exemption, and credit he or she is eligible for.

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