American Tax Service

Helping Americans File Their Taxes


Medical and Dental Expense Tax Deductions 2017, 2018 – How it Works

If you pay out-of-pocket (OOP) for medical or dental care, you may be able to write some of it off on your taxes. In some cases, you may be able to write-off some travel costs as well. Even some prescription medication costs can be written-off. This is a valuable deduction opportunity for those without health insurance that have to pay OOP for all of their medical care.

Itemizing and Thresholds

medical and dental tax deductions

Any medical and/or dental expense that you plan to include for this deduction must be itemized. For those with multiple doctors and multiple medical conditions, this may mean multiple pages of inclusions. It is important to know that you cannot take these deductions if you only claim a standard deduction.

While you must include all of your OOP medical costs, you may only claim them once you have established that your medical expenses are more than 10-percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). If you are age 65 or older, your AGI threshold is reduced to 7.5-percent.

Qualifying Expenses

A full list of qualifying medical expense deductions is available on IRS Publication 502. This is an important document to have printed out and on-hand when filing your tax return.

Items that qualify:

  • Appointment costs for receiving a diagnosis
  • Appointments for treating a medical condition
  • Preventative disease care
  • Insurance premium for medical care
  • Long-term care insurance (restrictions apply)
  • Ambulatory transportation service
  • Parking fees
  • Tolls paid for travel
  • Public transportation costs

It is important to keep all of your receipts from your doctors for this purpose. You should also keep receipts for prescriptions and diagnostic care.

Changes to the medical and dental expense tax deduction are expected before the end of 2016, thus making these credits only valid through December 31, 2016. A tool is available on the IRS website, called the Interactive Tax Assistant, to help you determine eligibility for the deduction. Rather than taking all of the time to complete multiple pieces of paperwork, use the tool first.

No Double Dipping

You cannot claim this deduction if you have used funds from a health savings account or flexible spending arrangements. Those are almost always tax-free. If you have a situation where these plans are not tax-free, acquire the proper documentation and include the deduction. It may or may not be accepted by the IRS, it is purely discretionary on their end.

Many Americans are unaware that medical and dental expenses can be written-off for a tax deduction. If you have not kept your receipts, your physician or dentist’s office can pull up those records and print them off for you.

You can also obtain a printed statement from your pharmacy for prescription drug costs. Having these documents on-hand will help you when it’s time to file your taxes.

File Your Taxes Online and Get Peace of Mind

TurboTax online provides you with step by step instructions to insure that you get every tax deduction and credit that you are eligible for. TurboTax also insures that you get the largest refund possible. Their online filing services have the ability to import your W2 information into your tax return so you can avoid worrying about your forms being delivered via snail mail. This will allow you to file for your refund as soon as your employer makes your W-2 form available online.

Medical and Dental Expense Tax Deductions 2017, 2018 – How it Works
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