You can generally include medical expenses you pay for yourself as well as those you pay for someone who was your spouse or your dependent either when the services were provided or when you paid for them. There are different rules for decedents and for individuals who are the subject of multiple support agreements. See Support claimed under a multiple support agreement
Even if you, or your spouse if you are filing a joint return, are claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, you can include the medical expenses of any person you could have claimed as a dependent if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, were not being claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100035133
You can include medical expenses you paid for yourself.taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033883
You can include medical expenses you paid for your spouse. To include these expenses, you must have been married either at the time your spouse received the medical services or at the time you paid the medical expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033884
Mary received medical treatment before she married Bill. Bill paid for the treatment after they married. Bill can include these expenses in figuring his medical expense deduction even if Bill and Mary file separate returns.
If Mary had paid the expenses, Bill could not include Mary's expenses in his separate return. Mary would include the amounts she paid during the year in her separate return. If they filed a joint return, the medical expenses both paid during the year would be used to figure their medical expense deduction. taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033885
This year, John paid medical expenses for his wife Louise, who died last year. John married Belle this year and they file a joint return. Because John was married to Louise when she received the medical services, he can include those expenses in figuring his medical deduction for this year.taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033886
You can include medical expenses you paid for your dependent. For you to include these expenses, the person must have been your dependent either at the time the medical services were provided or at the time you paid the expenses. A person generally qualifies as your dependent for purposes of the medical expense deduction if both of the following requirements are met.
- The person was a qualifying child (defined later) or a qualifying relative (defined later), and
- The person was a U.S. citizen or national, or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico. If your qualifying child was adopted, see Exception for adopted child, next.
If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household for 2008, that child does not have to be a U.S. citizen or national or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033888
A qualifying child is a child who:
- Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
- At the end of 2008 was:
- Under age 19,
- Under age 24 and a full-time student, or
- Permanently and totally disabled,
- Lived with you for more than half of 2008, and
- Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2008.
A legally adopted child is treated as your own child. This includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
You can include medical expenses that you paid for a child before adoption if the child qualified as your dependent when the medical services were provided or when the expenses were paid.
If you pay back an adoption agency or other persons for medical expenses they paid under an agreement with you, you are treated as having paid those expenses provided you clearly substantiate that the payment is directly attributable to the medical care of the child.
But if you pay the agency or other person for medical care that was provided and paid for before adoption negotiations began, you cannot include them as medical expenses.
You may be able to take an adoption credit for other expenses related to an adoption. See the Instructions for Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, for more information.
For purposes of the medical and dental expenses deduction, a child of divorced or separated parents can be treated as a dependent of both parents. Each parent can include the medical expenses he or she pays for the child, even if the other parent claims the child's dependency exemption, if:
- The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half the year,
- The child receives over half of his or her support during the year from his or her parents, and
- The child's parents:
- Are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance,
- Are separated under a written separation agreement, or
- Live apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year.
This does not apply if the child's exemption is being claimed under a multiple support agreement (discussed later).
A qualifying relative is a person:
- Who is your:
- Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild),
- Brother, sister, or a son or daughter of either of them,
- Father, mother, or an ancestor or sibling of either of them (for example, your grandmother, grandfather, aunt, or uncle),
- Stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law, or
- Any other person (other than your spouse) who lived with you all year as a member of your household if your relationship did not violate local law,
- Who was not a qualifying child (see Qualifying Child earlier) of any other person for 2008, and
- For whom you provided over half of the support in 2008. But see Child of divorced or separated parents, earlier, and Support claimed under a multiple support agreement, next.
If you are considered to have provided more than half of a qualifying relative's support under a multiple support agreement, you can include medical expenses you pay for that person. A multiple support agreement is used when two or more people provide more than half of a person's support, but no one alone provides more than half.
Any medical expenses paid by others who joined you in the agreement cannot be included as medical expenses by anyone. However, you can include the entire unreimbursed amount you paid for medical expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033894
You and your three brothers each provide one-fourth of your mother's total support. Under a multiple support agreement, you treat your mother as your dependent. You paid all of her medical expenses. Your brothers reimbursed you for three-fourths of these expenses. In figuring your medical expense deduction, you can include only one-fourth of your mother's medical expenses. Your brothers cannot include any part of the expenses. However, if you and your brothers share the nonmedical support items and you separately pay all of your mother's medical expenses, you can include the unreimbursed amount you paid for her medical expenses in your medical expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033895
Medical expenses paid before death by the decedent are included in figuring any deduction for medical and dental expenses on the decedent's final income tax return. This includes expenses for the decedent's spouse and dependents as well as for the decedent.
The survivor or personal representative of a decedent can choose to treat certain expenses paid by the decedent's estate for the decedent's medical care as paid by the decedent at the time the medical services were provided. The expenses must be paid within the 1-year period beginning with the day after the date of death. If you are the survivor or personal representative making this choice, you must attach a statement to the decedent's Form 1040 (or the decedent's amended return, Form 1040X) saying that the expenses have not been and will not be claimed on the estate tax return.
Qualified medical expenses paid before death by the decedent are not deductible if paid with a tax-free distribution from any Archer MSA or health savings account.
Amended returns and claims for refund are discussed in chapter 1. taxmap/pub17/p17-109.htm#en_us_publink100033897
If you paid medical expenses for your deceased spouse or dependent, include them as medical expenses on your Form 1040 in the year paid, whether they are paid before or after the decedent's death. The expenses can be included if the person was your spouse or dependent either at the time the medical services were provided or at the time you paid the expenses.