Meet The Contributors

Mandy ~ I am a stay at home mom who has been on a medical roller coaster ride going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what is wrong with me. All of the doctors agreed that there is something medically wrong with me, they just don't know what... Basically, just about every time that I go to the doctor, I wind up with a new diagnosis. It is very frustrating. I hope that some of these links will maybe help you or lead you in the right direction.

Ferd ~ I have had the honor and pleasure of practicing Internal Medicine for over 25 years. I am now enjoying sharing my thoughts and experience in the blogosphere in a number of ways. I am grateful to Mandy for including me on her excellent blog, Texas Medical Freak!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Medical Deduction Tips ~ Tax Season Is Upon Us…

Tax season is upon us and for those of us with chronic illnesses; we may or may not be able to claim medical expenses. For the fortunate people without brain fog, yearly taxes can be a major headache. It is all that much worse for those of us with medical expenses and figuring out the Schedule A form. What can you deduct how much can you deduct, etc. For the most part, most people can not claim medical deductions on their taxes. Why? Simple, if you have medical insurance most of the time you never can get over that 7.5% tax floor. Say you make $40,000 for your AGI (adjusted gross income – line 38 on your 1040) you would have to spend more than $3,000 to claim any of it. I don’t want to depress anyone and you should always keep all of your receipts. Anything can happen throughout the year, more than one family member could have a lot of medical expenses. Get a old shoe box or buy one of the plastic ones with a lid. Whenever you go to the doctor, get a prescription filled, etc. throw them in your box. This way they are all in one place. Every so often, make copies and bundle them up with the receipts (this makes less work all at once).

What is deductible (Qualified Medical Expenses)? Diabetic supplies, eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, contact lens solutions, hearing aids, laser eye surgery, orthodontia, dental cleanings, dental fillings, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines (not vitamins though), prescription drugs, physical therapy, speech therapy, chiropractic expenses, specialized equipment and devices for disabled persons, transportation expenses related to medical care, weight reduction programs for physician-diagnosed obesity. Whew, for more detailed information check out Section 213(d) of the IRS Publication 502.

Now for the tips and tricks:

• Mileage – I am really bad about remembering to write down the mileage when I go to the doctor. What I do is get map directions from google or yahoo (both ways, the mileage is not always the same to and from) then print out the map and file it in you receipt box. You can do this for doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.
• Hearing Aids – Most insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, therefore all expenses are 100% deductible. This includes the hearing aid, batteries, repair, etc.
• Parking – Keep your receipt if you have to pay for parking.
• Stop-Smoking Programs – You can include in medical expenses for stop smoking programs. You can not deduct OTC’s such as nicotine gum or patches.
• Get a copy of one of the tax software programs. A lot of them have programs that will keep track of all of your deductions.

As crazy as our tax system is this is just the tip of the iceberg. I really encourage you to read the IRS publication 502 or contact an accountant if your taxes are more complicated.

Photo thanks to Flikr


bloggingpreneur said...

I am so far from claiming any medical expenses, its not even funny.

Mandy said...

Bloggingpreneur ~ LOL, I hear you! Even me the queen "medical freak" doesn't have enough and I could fill several shoe boxes...