Deductable and Non Deductable Medical Expenses

Eric Jorgensen, CFP®


           This week, rather than the blog you traditionally see, I would like to share with you a list of medical expenses you can, and cannot deduct. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, when in doubt please consult with a tax professional. The IRS doesn’t allow you to deduct medical expenses until they’ve exceeded 10% of your income, but for many of us who are caring for sick/aging parents and/or a child/relative with a disability, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll meet this requirement.


Deductible Medical Expenses

Abortion (legal) Acupuncture

Adopted child, medical expenses of Alcoholism, treatment of

Alzheimer’s care in a full‐time medical facility Ambulance

Animals (guide animals, seeing‐eye dogs, hearing aid animals, etc.)

Attendant for blind or deaf student

Autoette (three‐wheeled vehicle for the disabled)

Banking umbilical cord blood (to treat an existing or imminently probable disease)

Birth control pills

Body scans (full‐body electronic scans) Braille books and magazines

Breast pumps and related equipment

Breast reconstructive surgery following mastectomy for cancer treatment

Capital improvements to home (only excess of cost over increase in home’s value)

Car with handicap controls or equipped to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs (to the extent of the cost of special controls and equipment)

Childbirth preparation classes (mother) Chiropractors

Christian Science treatment Contact lenses Contraceptives, prescriptive

Cosmetic surgery (only for procedures that correct a congenital defect, personal injury, or a disfiguring  disease)

Crutches Dental fees Dentures

Diabetic supplies Diagnostic fees

Diapers (disposable), used because of severe neurologi­ cal disease


Domestic aid (type that would be rendered by a nurse) Drug addiction, treatment for

Drugs, prescription (including alleviation of nicotine with­ drawal)

Dyslexia, language training

Egg donor costs, including legal fees, hospital, transportation Eye examination

Fertility enhancement

Fluoride device (on advice of dentist) Gender identity disorder expenses Glasses

Health club dues (prescribed by physician for a medical condition or specific disease)

Health maintenance organization Hearing aid (including costs to repair) Hospital care, in‐patient

Hospital services Insulin

Insurance premiums (medical—except coverage of unnec­ essary cosmetic surgery)

Iron lung Laboratory fees Laetrile (legal use)

Laser eye surgery to correct myopia Lead paint, removal of

Lifetime care—advance payments Limbs, artificial

Lodging (limit of $50 per night per  person)

Long‐term care (qualified) services and insurance premiums Medicare premiums (Parts A, B, and D)

Nursing home (medical reasons) Nursing services

Obstetrical expenses

Operations (legal—except unnecessary cosmetic surgery) Optometrists


Orthopedic shoes (excess cost) Osteopaths

Oxygen equipment for breathing  difficulty

Personal products (for the treatment of acne, arthritis, dehydration, incontinence, indigestion, sinus problems, and support for injured or weakened body  parts)

Physical examination Pregnancy test kits Prosthesis Psychiatric care Psychologists Psychotherapists

Radial keratotomy (corrective eye surgery) Reclining chair (cardiac patient)

Remedial reading

Retirement home, lifetime medical care

Sanitarium rest home, cost of if for medical, educational, or rehabilitative reasons

Schools, special for the  handicapped

Service animals, including training and maintenance expenses (for individuals with physical or mental disabilities)

Sexual dysfunction, treatment of Smoking‐cessation programs

Excess cost of specially prepared (and doctor prescribed) foods over cost of normal  food

Sterilization operation (legal)

Telephone, specially equipped for the deaf Television closed caption decoder for the deaf Therapy received as medical treatment Transplant, donor’s expenses

Transportation, essentially and primarily for medical care Vasectomy (legal)

Visual alert system for the hearing impaired

Weight reduction program to treat obesity or a specific problem directly associated to excessive  weight

Wheelchair X‐rays


Abortion (illegal)

Nondeductible Medical Expenses

Hygiene supplies

Adopted child, medical expenses of natural mother Anticipated medical expenses

Aspirin for pain relief of injury (doctor recommended) Babysitting expenses to enable parent to visit a doctor Capital expenditures to the extent they increase the  value

of the property Car depreciation

Childbirth preparation class (coach)

Clothing that is suitable for use other than therapy Commuting costs of disabled  taxpayer

Controlled substances (such as marijuana)

Cosmetic surgery (directed solely at improving the patient’s appearance)

Deprogramming services Diaper service

Dust elimination system Ear  piercing Electrolysis

Funerals Furnace

Gastric bypass surgery (if cosmetic) Gender reassignment surgery

Hair transplant

Health club dues (not prescribed by physician for medical condition)

Health savings account payments or distributions Household help

Imported prescription drugs

Insurance (accidental loss of life, limb, or sight; loss of earnings during periods of disability; or unnecessary cosmetic surgery)

In vitro fertilization (for nonmedical reasons) Lyposuction


Marriage counseling Maternity clothes

Medical expenses of surrogate mother and unborn child Medical savings account contributions or distributions Medicines and drugs from other countries Nonprescription drugs and  medicines

Nutritional supplements Operation (illegal)

Residence, loss on sale resulting from medically recom­ mended move

Scientology audits and processing Self‐help


Teeth‐whitening due to age Toilet articles

Trips, general improvement of health Vacations, restoration of health Veterinary fees

Weight loss program to improve  appearance


Further Reading

Get the Money Flow System To Easily Track your spending
100% privacy. 
No games, no B.S., no spam.