John R. Bullis: A few examples of medical expenses

A medical expense deduction is allowed for expenses incurred in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body for an individual (or for a spouse or dependents). That is claimed on Schedule A of form 1040 with other Itemized Deductions.

Acupuncture qualifies. An air conditioner for allergy or cystic fibrosis relief that is detachable and for a sick person’s use only is a qualified medical expense.

Expenses for an attendant to accompany a blind or deaf student also qualify. Braille books, magazines excess cost over the cost of regular editions and seeing eye dog expenses are also OK.

Home modifications for a handicapped person are allowed to the extent the cost is more than the increase in fair market value of the home. The excess cost of equipping a car or vehicle to accommodate wheelchair passengers is allowed (to the extent the value of the car or vehicle is not increased).

Cosmetic surgery that is necessary to ameliorate a deformity, personal injury or disfiguring disease is qualified, but unnecessary cosmetic surgery is not a medical expense.

Legal expenses for authorization of treatment for mental illness are deductible.

Equipment, supplies, or diagnostic devices for medical care are allowed and a prescription is not required. Think of the device to check blood pressure at home.

A specially equipped telephone for deaf persons qualifies.

A reclining chair for a cardiac patient is a medical expense. So are service animals for folks with hearing or sight problems.

Curiously, marriage counseling and maternity clothes have been found to not be medical expenses.

Those are only a few of the items that qualify. Look at the main definition and see if there is an IRS regulation or a court case that helps decide what a medical expense for tax purposes is.

Did you hear? “Never eat anything whose listed ingredients cover more than one-third of the package,” by Joseph Leonard.

John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser who has served Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs.


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