The Internal Revenue Code allows individuals and joint filers, who itemize their deductions, to deduct the cost of medical and dental expense. This deduction can apply to expenses incurred by you, a spouse, or dependents. This section will provide general information about the allowable deductible expenses and the limitations on deduction. Always consult a qualified tax attorney or accountant with regards to your specific tax situation.
A taxpayer should first determine which expenses are deductible. The deduction for medical and dental expenses is related to the prevention or alleviation of physical or mental defects or illnesses. The expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website lists specific items that are deductible and should be considered in preparing your return. This website may be accessed at:
There are limitations on deductions for medical and dental expenses. The primary limitation is that your medical expense must exceed a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income to allow for a deduction. This percentage threshold can change from year to year. In addition, you cannot deduct expenses for which you received a reimbursement. Also, cosmetic surgery cannot be deducted. Finally, the medical expenses must have been paid during the tax year, not just incurred in the particular tax year.
The key points to remember are (1) save your medical and dental receipts for your tax records; (2) specific medical and dental payments are deductible if related to prevention or treatment of a medical condition, and exceed a pre-set percentage of your adjusted gross income; and (3) consult your tax preparer or if necessary a qualified tax attorney with regard to your specific circumstances.
Other Useful links
A Note About using Internet Sites
Note that links to websites that refer to specific laws and IRS regulations are not always up to date. Many pages referring to earlier versions of the law or tax regulations remain on the Internet and are accessible and it is hard to determine if the laws and regulations are still current. Laws change from year to year and especially in the area of health care and taxes. You should always consult a tax attorney or accountant before relying on any information you obtain on these areas from the Internet.
Tax help for low-income individuals
The Internal Revenue Service has two programs to assist low income tax filers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is designed to help low-income taxpayers and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program is designed to assist taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Many VITA sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, call 1-800-829-1040. The University of Pittsburgh Law School also provides tax assistance for low-income individuals. See:
Pursuant to IRS Circular 230. Any tax advice contained in this written or electronic communication (including attachments) was not intended or written to be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, nor may the user/recipient of this communication use this written tax advice for that purpose.
For answers to tax questions it is always best to consult a qualified tax accountant or tax attorney.