The Facts: Medical And Dental Expenses

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If you, your spouse or dependents had significant medical or dental costs in 2015, you may be able to deduct those expenses when you file your tax return. Here are eight things you should know about medical and dental expenses and other benefits.

1. You must itemize. You can only claim medical expenses that you paid for in 2015, and only if you itemize on Schedule A on Form 1040. If you take the standard deduction, you can’t claim these expenses.

2. Deduction is limited. You can deduct all the qualified medical costs that you paid for during the year. However, you can only deduct the amount that is more than 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. The AGI threshold is still 7.5 percent of your AGI if you or your spouse is age 65 or older. This exception will apply through December 31, 2016.

3. Expenses must have been paid in 2015. You can include medical and dental expenses you paid during the year, regardless of when the services were provided. Be sure to save your receipts and keep good records to substantiate your expenses.

4. You can’t deduct reimbursed expenses. Your total medical expenses for the year must be reduced by any reimbursement. Costs reimbursed by insurance or other sources do not qualify for a deduction. Normally, it makes no difference if you receive the reimbursement or if it is paid directly to the doctor or hospital.

5. Whose expenses qualify. You may include qualified medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. Some exceptions and special rules apply to divorced or separated parents, taxpayers with a multiple support agreement, or those with a qualifying relative who is not your child.

6. Types of expenses that qualify. You can deduct expenses primarily paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. For drugs, you can only deduct prescription medication and insulin. You can also include premiums for medical, dental and certain long-term care insurance in your expenses. And, you can also include lactation supplies.

7. Transportation costs may qualify. You may deduct transportation costs primarily for and essential to medical care that qualifies as a medical expense, including fares for a taxi, bus, train, plane or ambulance as well as tolls and parking fees. If you use your car for medical transportation, you can deduct actual out-of-pocket expenses such as gas and oil, or you can deduct the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, which is 23 cents per mile for 2015.

8. No double benefit. You can’t claim a tax deduction for medical and dental expenses you paid for with funds from your Health Savings Accounts (HAS) or Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA). Amounts paid with funds from those plans are usually tax-free. This rule prevents two tax benefits for the same expense.

Please connect with me on TaxConnections if you need help figuring out what qualifies as a medical or dental expense.

Dan has been preparing tax return for US Taxpayers and Expatriates since 1998 beginning with US military and Embassy mission personnel in Bangkok, Thailand. He has always loved math and took business accounting at City U. in Seattle Washington. Dan worked at Clint Gordon & Associates (Accredited Tax Consultant) were he gained his foundational knoledge of the US taxing system.

Dan has been studying tax preparation and tax law ever since increasing his skill and knowledge of the tax preparation business accordingly, Dan is known in many circles around the globe as an Expatriate Tax Expert. His book entitled “The Complete US Expat Tax Book” has recently been published and is available on Kindle, Amazon and booksellers around the world.

Thru the years, Dan has fought many battles with the Internal Revenue Service as well as various state taxing departments with great success in helping lower and or eliminate his clients tax debts.

Dan Gordon and his staff enjoy the work they do from the simplest 1040EZ to the most complex corporations, with the goal that no client should pay more tax than legally required.

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One comment

  1. Judy M Strauss EA says:

    If you have substantial unpaid medical bills, many credit cards are offering 0% interest balance transfer, 12-18 month loans right now. Use them to pay down or off your medical. That way you may be able to deduct more on your 2015 return. Bunch your deductions in one year if possible.

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