Claiming a Tax Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses
U.S. taxpayers are entitled to take a tax deduction on their medical and dental expenses, but in order to do so there are a number of eligibility requirements. These include:
- Medical expenses are only deductible in tax year 2015 for those taxpayers who itemize their deductions.
- In order for medical expenses to be deductible, the total expenses must add up to over ten percent of the adjusted gross income that is reflected on your federal tax return. For those who are 65 or older, or whose spouse is 65 or older, there is a temporarily reduced threshold that drops to 7.5 percent until the end of 2016.
- Qualified medical and dental care expenses that can be deducted include those you pay for yourself, for your spouse, or for any of your dependents that were paid for the following:
- Prescription drugs
- Insurance premiums for policies that cover medical care
- Some long-term care insurance costs
- Expenses incurred for diagnosing, treating, preventing or easing disease
If any of these costs are reimbursed by insurance or other sources, they may not be included in overall costs or be deducted.
- When you have to spend money to travel for medical care, those expenses can be included as medical expenses. These fees can include the costs of ambulance service, public transportation, parking fees, and tolls. You can also calculate your vehicle usage by either keeping track of actual expenses or taking the standard mileage rate deduction of 23 cents per mile traveled (.19 for 2016).
- If you incur medical expenses that you pay out of a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Arrangement account, you cannot include these in your medical expense deduction calculation. These are generally tax-free funds, and therefore not eligible for tax deductions.