Commonly Missed Medical Expenses for Tax Deductions – MSAA ReBlog

**Originally posted by Matt Cavallo on MSAA Conversations on 3-14-2014 at http://blog.mymsaa.org/commonly-missed-medical-expenses-tax-deductions/**
Taxes

Taxes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from https://flic.kr/p/bH1kaH

The change of the season can only mean one thing: taxes! I can’t turn on my TV or radio right now without hearing an advertisement for tax preparation. Whether you prepare your own taxes or use a tax preparation service, one of the most overlooked areas for tax deductions are medical expenses. In this blog, I will provide a list of deductions that you may have overlooked in previous years.

As a person living with multiple sclerosis, your out-of-pocket medical expenses can be extremely high in any given year. You probably know that your out-of-pocket medical expenses are deductible, but do you know what is considered a medical expense? For example, did you know that the mileage for all the trips you made back and forth to the neurologist, MRI scan or other doctor appointments are tax deductible? If you did not record the mileage during the appointments, don’t worry. Your explanation of benefits from your insurance company will list of all the appointments that you would have traveled for. You can then calculate the mileage to and from your appointment online at Google or Mapquest, and then add up total mileage for all of your doctor visits and you’ll get your deduction amount.

This is just one example of many tax deductions that people living with MS miss every year. Other items that you can write off as a tax deduction include items that insurance may not cover, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care; medical equipment; medications; and smoking cessation programs. There are also health expenses that may not be deducted. Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) are all bought with pretax dollars, so your contributions cannot be tax deductible. Also non-prescription medications, medications from other countries and nutritional supplements cannot be deducted.

There are certain items that can be viewed as either deducible or not deductible. While you cannot write off visits that insurance did pay for, did you know that you can write off your self-funded medical insurance premium as a tax deduction? For example, if you pay $400 per month for medical insurance, then that is an additional $4,800 for the year that can go towards your itemized deductions! However, while insurance paid for medical care can be deducted, you cannot write off any premium for extra insurance like life, supplemental or employer-sponsored program paid with pre-tax dollars. Also gym memberships may be a write off – if the doctor writes a letter of medical necessity stating that you need the membership for health reasons, but a gym membership for personal fitness or stress reduction is not considered a write-off.

Life with MS can be expensive. Make sure that you take advantage of tax deductions for all expenses related to your illness. Please note that I am not a tax expert and these tips are to be used for informational purposes only.  Before filling out your medical deductions, please read about all of the deductions that are acceptable and not acceptable located in form IRS Publication 502 – Medical and Dental Expenses. IRS Publication 502 breaks down all of the items that may or may not be deducted. Start spring out right and maximize those healthcare deductions!

Resource:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf

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2 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I think what you’re doing on this blog is amazing. I wanted to reach out because I’m part of a group of students at Harvard Business School who are launching a medical accessories company. Our aim is to infuse dignity into the patient experience by designing medical products that are both functional AND design-focused for patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities. To that effect, we’ve published an opinion piece on OpEd space here: http://opedspace.com/2015/04/23/how-companies-are-giving-patients-back-their-dignity/.

    You can see our website at http://www.blackpebblemedical.com for an introduction to our first product, a bag for carrying self-catheterization supplies. We believe this bag can help many self-catheterizing MS patients better carry their cath supplies in a safe, easy, and discreet way.

    We are so inspired by your blog and your work, and would be honored if you would be willing to share information about our product and company with your readers. Even if you’re not comfortable with that, we’d appreciate an opportunity to connect with you and get your advice on how to spread the word about our product and mission. Please let me know if you would be willing to chat.

    Thank you!
    Andrea

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