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How to Write Off Medical Expenses on Your Taxes

If you itemize deductions and have hefty out-of-pocket medical expenses, you may qualify for a tax break next spring.


2015 has been a rough year. I’ve had multiple surgeries and a couple ER visits, in addition to all our regular copays for doctor visits and prescription drugs. And it’s only July! Can I at least look forward to getting a tax break for all these medical expenses when I file my return next spring?

See Also: ASK KIM: Can I Pay Health Insurance Premiums From a Health Savings Account?

To deduct medical expenses, you must itemize your deductions, and you can deduct eligible out-of-pocket expenses only to the extent they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% of AGI if you’re 65 or older, or if you file a joint return and either spouse is 65 or older).

Most medical expenses you pay out of pocket--such as deductibles, co-payments, prescription drugs, dental and vision care, and the portion of other medical bills not covered by insurance--are eligible for the tax break. You can count expenses for yourself, your spouse and anyone you claim as a dependent.


You can also deduct a wide range of other medical expenses, such as the cost of eyeglasses and contact lenses (and even contact lens insurance), 23 cents a mile to drive your car to get medical care, up to $50 per person per night for travel to receive medical care, health insurance premiums that weren’t paid with pretax money (including Medicare Part B and Part D premiums), chiropractor visits and a weight-loss program if recommended by your doctor as part of treatment for a specific medical problem.

You can also deduct qualified long-term-care services in certain circumstances, and if you have a “tax-qualified” policy, you can deduct a portion of long-term-care insurance premiums based on your age ($380 per person if you’re 40 or younger, $710 if 41 to 50, $1,430 if 51 to 60, $3,800 if 61 to 70 and $4,750 if you’re 71 or older).

For a list of eligible expenses, see IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

You can’t double dip tax breaks, so any medical expenses you paid for with tax-free money from a health savings account or flexible-spending account are not eligible for the tax deduction.

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