Topic No. 502 Medical and Dental Expenses | Internal Revenue Service

If you itemize your deductions for a taxable year on schedule a (form 1040), itemized deductions, you may be able to deduct the expenses you paid that year for medical and dental care for you, your spouse, and your dependents. You can deduct only the amount of your total medical expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. you calculate the amount you can deduct on schedule a (form 1040).

Health care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatment that affects any structure or function of the body.

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Deductible medical expenses may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Payments of fees to physicians, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and non-traditional physicians.
  • payments for inpatient hospital care or nursing home care, if the availability of medical care is the primary reason for being in the nursing home, including the cost of meals and lodging charged by the hospital or nursing home of elderly. if the availability of medical care is not the primary reason for residing in the nursing home, the deduction is limited to the portion of the cost for medical care.
  • payments for acupuncture treatment or inpatient treatment at an alcohol or drug addiction facility; or to participate in a program to stop smoking and for medications to relieve nicotine withdrawal that require a prescription.
  • payments to participate in a weight-loss program for a specific medically diagnosed disease(s), including obesity, but typically not payments for diet foods or gym memberships.
  • payments for insulin and prescription drugs for use by an individual.
  • payments made for admission and transportation to a medical conference related to a chronic illness of you, your spouse, or your dependent (if the costs are primarily for medically necessary and essential care). however, you cannot deduct the costs of meals and lodging while attending the medical conference.
  • payments for false teeth, prescription or reading glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, and for a guide dog or other service animal to assist a person who is visually or hearing impaired, or a person with other physical disabilities.
  • payments for transportation primarily and essential to medical care that qualify as medical expenses, such as payments for the actual fare of a taxi, bus, train, ambulance, or personal automobile transportation; the amount of your actual out-of-pocket expenses, such as gas and oil; or the amount of the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, plus the cost of tolls and parking.
  • Insurance premium payments you paid for policies that cover medical care or for a qualified long-term care insurance policy that covers qualified long-term care services. however, if you are an employee, do not include in medical expenses the part of your premiums that is considered to be paid by your employer. employer-sponsored premiums paid under a premium conversion plan, cafeteria plan, or any other medical and dental expenses paid by the plan are not deductible unless the premiums are included in box 1 of your w-2 form , declaration of salaries and taxes. For example, if you are a federal employee participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) premium conversion plan, you cannot include premiums paid for the policy as medical expenses.
  • If you are self-employed and have a net profit for the year, you may be eligible for the self-employment health insurance deduction. this is an adjustment to income, rather than an itemized deduction, for premiums you paid on a health insurance policy that covers medical care, including a qualified long-term care insurance policy for you, your spouse, and dependents . The policy may also cover your child under the age of 27 at the end of 2021, even if the child was not your dependent. See Chapter 6 of Publication 535, Business Expenses for information on eligibility. If you don’t claim 100% of your paid premiums, you can include the rest with your other medical expenses as an itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040).

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    You can’t deduct funeral or burial expenses, over-the-counter drugs, toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, a trip or program for the general improvement of your health, or most cosmetic surgeries. You cannot deduct amounts paid for nicotine gum and nicotine patches that do not require a prescription.

    You can only include medical expenses you paid during the year. You must reduce your total deductible medical expenses for the year by any reimbursement of deductible medical expenses and by expenses used in figuring other credits or deductions. This is true whether you are reimbursed directly or the doctor, hospital, or other medical provider is paid on your behalf.

    To determine if an expense is deductible, see Can I deduct my medical and dental expenses? For additional information on medical expenses, including who qualifies as your dependent for purposes of this deduction, how to calculate, and how to report the deduction on your return, see publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

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