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 a spouse and dependents. This section will discuss the allowable deductible expenses and the limitations on deduction.
The first question to ask is: what 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. See www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html.
There are limitations on deductions for medical and dental expenses. The primary limitation is that your medical expense must exceed a percentage of your adjusted gross income to allow for a deduction. 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.
The key points to remember are (1) save your medical and dental bills for your tax records; (2) specific medical and dental bills are deductible if related to prevention or treatment of a medical condition; and (3) visit the IRS website or contact your tax provider for more information.
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 provides tax assistance for low income individuals. See http://www.law.pitt.edu/academics/juris-doctor/clinics/tax.
IRS information for tax payers on dental and medical deductions: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html
Further IRS information for medical deductions: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/index.html
AARP information for elderly tax payers: