Be sure to use health-related tax deductions

It’s tax season: don’t let Uncle Sam short-change your health. There are many tax-deductible health-related expenses; your doctor can help you document them.

The health insurance premiums the government now forces you to purchase are tax deductible (your portion only). While some people save prescription drug receipts or co-pay receipts, you can deduct over-the-counter items as well. While higher income folks might not benefit, seniors or those on fixed income for other reasons may find significant tax savings.

For example, if your doctor has recommended you take Tylenol for arthritis you can save those receipts as tax-deductible. If you use over-the-counter hemorrhoid, bowel, allergy, joint support, sunscreen, pills or food supplements, have your physician write this as a prescription for a specific medical diagnosis and it becomes tax deductible. In short, any health care item used for a specific medical diagnosis is tax deductible.

Gas prices or taxi fees have you skipping medical or therapy appointments? Yes, gas and transportation is tax deductible. Bad teeth? Dental work and dentures are tax deductible. Home nursing – tax deductible. Special bedding, adult diapers or wound care supplies- tax deductible.

If you have a medical condition that requires yoga, chiropractic care, certified massage therapy, supervised weight loss, cardiovascular exercise, those fees and gym memberships are tax deductible (including transportation) as long as your doctor is recommending it for treating or preventing a medical condition.

And don’t neglect your family’s emotional health: counseling and talk therapy are, you guessed it, tax deductible.

If you’re not sure, consult one of our many fine CPAs in the area. The key is ensuring you have your doctor document the treatment for a specific condition. It’s like getting a 25-plus percent discount on every health care item you need.

Allan P. Frank, MD, MS