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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 01/01/2011


Medical and Dental Expenses

Tax Topic 502
rule
If you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct expenses you paid that year for medical care (including dental) for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, contains additional information on who will qualify as a dependent. You may deduct only the amount by which your total medical care expenses for the year exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You do this calculation on Form 1040, Schedule A in computing the amount deductible.
A deduction is allowed only for expenses primarily paid for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness. Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by any medical practitioner and the cost of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices used for medical care purposes.
Medical expenses include insurance premiums paid for medical care or qualified long-term care insurance. The deduction for a qualified long-term care insurance policy's premium is limited. If you are self-employed and have a net profit for the year, you may be able to deduct (as an adjustment to income) amounts paid for medical insurance for yourself and your spouse and dependents. You cannot take this deduction for any month in which you eligible to participate in any subsidized health plan maintained by your employer or your spouse's employer. If you do not claim 100 percent of you self-employed health insurance deduction, you can include the remaining premiums with your other medical expenses as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A. You may not deduct insurance premiums paid by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan (cafeteria plan) unless the premiums are included in Box 1 of your Form W-2.
Medical expenses may include:
You may not deduct funeral or burial expenses, over-the-counter medicines, toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, a trip or program for the general improvement of your health, or most cosmetic surgery. You may not deduct amounts paid for nicotine gum and nicotine patches, which do not require a prescription
You can only include the medical expenses you paid during the year. Your total medical expenses for the year must be reduced by any reimbursement. It makes no difference if you receive the reimbursement or if it is paid directly to the doctor or hospital.
See Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, for additional information.