IRS Tax Issues: Medical Deduction Myths to Avoid, Stay out of Trouble With the IRS

Stop Right There: Don't make a claim unless you know the facts. There are plenty of rumors swirling around about what you can and cannot claim as medical deductions. But the IRS's official list in Publication 502 says otherwise. Watch out, don't fall for the myths..

You can include ALL of your insurance premiums in your medical deductions.
Wrong. The IRS actually has a list of insurance premiums that you cannot include as medical deductions. These include:

-Life insurance policies
-Policies providing payment for loss of earnings
-Policies for loss of life, limb, sight, etc
-Policies that pay you a guaranteed amount each if you are hospitalized for sickness or injury
-Health or long-term care insurance if you elected to pay these premiums with tax-free distributions

You can include your Weight-Loss Program in your medical deductions.
Wrong again! You can ONLY include a weight-loss program in your medical deductions if the program is vital and you have a serious medical illness. This includes issues like obesity and heart disease. But remember, even if you do qualify to use your weight-loss program as a deduction, you cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses. You can only include separate fees charged at the gym or health club for weight loss activities.

You Can Include Cosmetic Medical Procedures in your Medical Deductions.
No. This is almost never true. You cannot include procedures like teeth whitening, plastic surgery, or hair removal in your medical deductions. Some people think you can claim things because they may help your overall health, but you cannot claim ANYTHING that is better for your overall health. (Like Vitamins, Herbal Supplements, and Vacations!) However, if the cosmetic surgery is to help repair disfigurement from birth defects or injuries, you may be able to claim the procedure as a medical deduction.

Fair Warning: If you claim a medical deduction that is not considered to be appropriate, the IRS may label it as Tax Fraud. Tax Fraud is a crime that carries civil penalties and criminal charges. So don't try to get creative on your Tax Returns!