Following is a list of some items that you cannot include in figuring your medical expense deduction. The items are listed in alphabetical order.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014899
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for the care of children, even if the expenses enable you, your spouse, or your dependent to get medical or dental treatment. Also, any expense allowed as a childcare credit cannot be treated as an expense paid for medical care. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014900
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for controlled substances (such as marijuana, laetrile, etc.), in violation of federal law. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014901
Generally, you cannot include in medical expenses the amount you pay for unnecessary cosmetic surgery. This includes any procedure that is directed at improving the patient's appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease. You generally cannot include in medical expenses the amount you pay for procedures such as face lifts, hair transplants, hair removal (electrolysis), and liposuction.
You can include in medical expenses the amount you pay for cosmetic surgery if it is necessary to improve a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014902
An individual undergoes surgery that removes a breast as part of treatment for cancer. She pays a surgeon to reconstruct the breast. The surgery to reconstruct the breast corrects a deformity directly related to the disease. The cost of the surgery is includible in her medical expenses.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014903
You cannot include the cost of dancing lessons, swimming lessons, etc., even if they are recommended by a doctor, if they are only for the improvement of general health. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014904
You cannot include in medical expenses the amount you pay for diapers or diaper services, unless they are needed to relieve the effects of a particular disease. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014905taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014906
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts for which you are fully reimbursed by your flexible spending account if you contribute a part of your income on a pre-tax basis to pay for the qualified benefit.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014907
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for funerals.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014908
Generally, you cannot include in medical expenses current payments for medical care (including medical insurance) to be provided substantially beyond the end of the year. This rule does not apply in situations where the future care is purchased in connection with obtaining lifetime care or long-term care of the type described at Lifetime Care—Advance Payments
or Long-Term Care
earlier under What Medical Expenses Are Includible.
You cannot include in medical expenses health club dues or amounts paid to improve one's general health or to relieve physical or mental discomfort not related to a particular medical condition.
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of membership in any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purpose.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014911
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for health insurance that you use in figuring your health coverage tax credit. For more information, see Health Coverage Tax Credit, later.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014912
You cannot include in medical expenses any payment or distribution for medical expenses out of a health savings account. Contributions to health savings accounts are deducted separately. See Publication 969.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014913
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of household help, even if such help is recommended by a doctor. This is a personal expense that is not deductible. However, you may be able to include certain expenses paid to a person providing nursing-type services. For more information, see Nursing Services,
earlier under What Medical Expenses Are Includible
. Also, certain maintenance or personal care services provided for qualified long-term care can be included in medical expenses. For more information, see Long-Term Care,
earlier under What Medical Expenses Are Includible.
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for illegal operations, treatments, or controlled substances whether rendered or prescribed by licensed or unlicensed practitioners. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014915taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014916
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for maternity clothes. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014917
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts you contribute to an Archer MSA. You cannot include expenses you pay for with a tax-free distribution from your Archer MSA. You also cannot use other funds equal to the amount of the distribution and include the expenses. For more information on Archer MSAs, see Publication 969. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014918
In general, you cannot include in your medical expenses the cost of a prescribed drug brought in (or ordered shipped) from another country. You can only include the cost of a drug that was imported legally. For example, you can include the cost of a prescribed drug the Food and Drug Administration announces can be legally imported by individuals.
You can include the cost of a prescribed drug you purchase and consume in another country if the drug is legal in both the other country and the United States.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014919
Except for insulin, you cannot include in medical expenses amounts you pay for a drug that is not prescribed. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014920
Your doctor recommends that you take aspirin. Because aspirin is a drug that does not require a physician's prescription, you cannot include its cost in your medical expenses.taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014921
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, "natural medicines," etc. unless they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician. Otherwise, these items are taken to maintain your ordinary good health, and are not for medical care. taxmap/pubs/p502-005.htm#en_us_publink100014922
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of an item ordinarily used for personal, living, or family purposes unless it is used primarily to prevent or alleviate a physical or mental defect or illness. For example, the cost of a toothbrush and toothpaste is a nondeductible personal expense.
In order to accommodate an individual with a physical defect, you may have to purchase an item ordinarily used as a personal, living, or family item in a special form. You can include the excess of the cost of the item in a special form over the cost of the item in normal form as a medical expense. See Braille Books and Magazines
under What Medical Expenses Are Includible
You cannot include in medical expenses amounts paid to whiten teeth. See Cosmetic Surgery
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of a weight-loss program if the purpose of the weight loss is the improvement of appearance, general health, or sense of well-being. You cannot include amounts you pay to lose weight unless the weight loss is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). If the weight-loss treatment is not for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician, you cannot include either the fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group or fees for attendance at periodic meetings. Also, you cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa.
You cannot include the cost of diet food or beverages in medical expenses because the diet food and beverages substitute for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs. You cannot include the cost of special food in medical expenses unless all three of the following requirements are met.
- The food does not satisfy normal nutritional needs.
- The food alleviates or treats an illness.
- The need for the food is substantiated by a physician.
The amount you can include in medical expenses is limited to the amount by which the cost of the special food exceeds the cost of a normal diet.