What Medical Expenses Can Be Written Off on Taxes?

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com

Many caregivers and their elderly parents rack up thousands of dollars every year in medical expenses. Items not covered by Medicare, co-pays and deductibles, even the amount of gas used to get to doctor’s appointments.

Depending on the total amount you’ve spent, you might be able to deduct those medical expenses from your taxes. However, you have to have an awful lot of medical expenses in order to take the deduction.

There are a number of hurdles that must be overcome for a caregiver to deduct medical expenses for the person to whom the care is provided,” says Mark Luscombe, CPA, JD, LLM, and Federal Tax Analyst at CCH (cchgroup.com) and noted expert on the U.S. tax code. “The person receiving the care must meet certain support, income, relationship, citizenship and other tests.

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“The medical expenses must be of the type approved by the IRS as qualifying for the medical expense deduction,” Luscombe says.

To qualify for the deduction, the total cost of your unreimbursed medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. For example, if your adjusted gross income is $50,000, then the first $3,750 of medical expenses don’t count.

“If all the requirements can be met, the caregiver can get significant tax benefits from writing off medical expenses incurred on behalf of the person receiving care.”

So take the time to add up the amount medical expenses you (or your elderly parent) cost out-of-pocket during 2011. If its enough, you can deduct those expenses on the tax return.

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What Medical Expenses Can Be Written Off on Taxes? originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

Here is a list of medical expenses that can be deducted from your taxes:


Adapters to TV sets and telephone for hearing impaired


Artificial limb


Braille books and magazines

Capital improvements to your home to accommodate a disability

Car – Cost of special equipment so disabled person can drive


Contact lenses plus wetting and cleaning solutions


Dental care


Diagnostic devices

Prescription drugs


Eye surgery

Hearing aid


In-home health care


Insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles for health insurance, dental and eye insurance, and long-term-care insurance.

Lifetime care fees (percentage of fees paid under lifetime contract with a continuing care retirement community)

Long-term-care services

Meals (while staying in hospital or similar facility)

Medicare Part B premiums

Nursing home and assisted living costs

Nursing services




Prescription drugs and medicine (Drugs from Canadian and foreign pharmacies are not deductible.)

Psychiatric care

Stop smoking program



Transportation to receive medical care – mileage, parking, tolls

Weight-loss program (if part of treatment for specific disease or condition, such as obesity)


Wig (if hair is lost due to medical condition or treatment)


A complete list of deductible medical expenses is available in IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses.

The most common way people treat their health costs on their tax forms is by claiming an itemized deduction, on Schedule A of the 1040, for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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What Medical Expenses Can Be Written Off on Taxes? originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton2 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Teri P.
Teri P.3 years ago

Thank you

Sheri P.
Sheri P.3 years ago

i've always deducted my medical expenses, didn't realize it had to be a certain percentage. i guess it was since i had a cpa doing my taxes and i trust he knows the laws.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I wonder if they changed the law?!? I was having Insurance premiums taken out of my check and what I read said that we 'could NOT take them as a deduction.' Hmmmmmmm.

Emily S.
Emily S.3 years ago

Good to know

Joe V.
Joe V.3 years ago

Every year I tally all of my medical expenses and if they qualify fine, if not, at least I did my part to make the determination. In this day and age every penny saved counts.

David F.
David F.3 years ago

Let us take an example of Texas. The "Penny Health" is quite popular in Arizona. It provides so many offers for the low income people.

Christine C.
Christine C.3 years ago

Good info, thanks