Deducting Medical and Dental Expenses

You can only deduct medical and dental expenses if you itemize your deductions. You are eligible to deduct medical and dental expenses if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income in 2019.

For example, if your adjusted gross income is $50,000 and you have $6,000 of eligible medical expenses (see below), you could deduct $6,000 – ($50,000 X 7.5%) = $2,250 ($6,000 – $3,750) = $2,250.

To claim the medical deduction, you must itemize your deductions thus no standard deduction.

Eligible medical deductions include but are not limited to payments for:

  • treatment affection any structure or function of the body.
  • mitigation, cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention of disease.
  • inpatient hospital care or residential nursing home care, if the availability of medical care is the principal reason for being in the nursing home, including the cost of meals and lodging charged by the hospital or nursing home. If the availability of medical care isn’t the principal reason for residence in the nursing home, the deduction is limited to that part of the cost that’s for medical care.
  • admission and transportation to a medical conference relating to a chronic illness of you, your spouse, or your dependent if the costs are primarily for and essential to necessary medical care
  • participation in a weight-loss program for a specific disease or diseases diagnosed by a physician, including obesity, but not ordinarily payments for diet food items or the payment of health club dues
  • doctors, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nontraditional medical practitioners
  • acupuncture treatments or inpatient treatment at a center for alcohol or drug addiction; or for participation in a smoking-cessation program and for drugs to alleviate nicotine withdrawal that require a prescription however you can not deduct nicotine gum and patches that do not require a prescription
  • insurance premiums you paid for policies that cover medical care or for a qualified long-term care insurance policy covering qualified long-term care services. However, if you’re an employee, don’t include in medical expenses the portion of your premiums treated as paid by your employer. Employer-sponsored premiums paid under a premium conversion plan, cafeteria plan, or any other medical and dental expenses paid by the plan aren’t deductible unless the premiums are included in box 1 of your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement (PDF). For example, if you’re a federal employee participating in the premium conversion plan of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, you may not include the premiums paid for the policy as a medical expense
  • insulin and for drugs that require a prescription for its use by an individual
  • transportation primarily for and essential to medical care that qualify as medical expenses, such as payments of the actual fare for a taxi, bus, train, ambulance, or for transportation by personal car; the amount of your actual out-of-pocket expenses such as for gas and oil; or the amount of the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, plus the cost of tolls and parking
  • false teeth, reading or prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, and for a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities

If you are self-employed, it becomes more involved. The good news is you MAY be able to deduct medical, dental and qualified long-term care insurance premiums on yourself, your spouse and your children under the age of 27 even if they were not your dependents, however it’s best to involve a tax professional for guidance.

You may not deduct funeral or burial expenses, non-prescription medicines, toiletries, cosmetics, general health programs or most cosmetic surgery. & connect taxpayers with verified local tax and accounting professionals. Learn more at or

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