Medical Expenses

Medical is the study of disease and the human body and includes a range of disciplines such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, epidemiology, and statistics. A health care professional uses medicine and surgery to treat and cure illness, disease, or injury by using knowledge gained from training and research, experience, and clinical judgment. Physicians are clinicians, as are other health professionals who work closely with patients, such as nurses and physicians assistants, therapists, and technicians. Other health care workers who may be considered clinicians include dentists, psychologists, and social workers. Scientists who do research into biological processes, diseases, and possible remedies, such as biologists, chemists, geneticists, doctors, pharmacologists, pathologists, and zoologists, are also known as clinicians.

You can deduct the costs of medical and dental equipment and supplies you buy and use to treat a medical condition on Schedule A (Form 1040) if the expense is more than 7.5% or 10% of your adjusted gross income. You must keep receipts for the items you purchase and use them to prove that they were used for medical purposes. If you bought medical equipment or property for a specific purpose and later sold it, use Worksheet D to figure your adjusted basis in the equipment or property. See the instructions for that worksheet in Pub. 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, to find out how to use the worksheet.

Generally, you can’t include in medical expenses current payments for future care that will be provided substantially beyond the end of the year. However, this rule doesn’t apply if the payments are made in connection with obtaining lifetime care, as explained under Lifetime Care-Advance Payments, earlier, or qualified long-term care insurance contracts, as explained in Long-Term Care Insurance, earlier.

You can include in medical expenses the cost of admission and transportation to a medical conference if it concerns your chronic illness or the health of a spouse or dependent. You also can include the cost of meals and lodging at the conference if they are primarily for and essential to your medical care or the care of a spouse or dependent. You can’t include the cost of cosmetic surgery or a program to help you quit smoking in medical expenses. See Cosmetic Surgery under What Expenses Aren’t Includible, later. You can’t include in medical expenses the amount of employment taxes you pay for an attendant who provides personal or household services for a person with a physical or mental disability. However, you can include the cost of special telephone equipment that lets a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a speech impairment communicate over a regular telephone. See Teletypewriter (TTY) and Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) equipment under What Medical Expenses Are Includible, later. You can’t deduct in medical expenses any expenses you pay to whiten your teeth. See Cosmetic Surgery, earlier. You can’t include in medical expenses amounts you pay to maintain a guide dog or other service animal.