Know about 20 unusual medical expenses

QTA Consultants, Ltd./Renata Bliumaite

This may be your best opportunity to deduct medical expenses for a long time.

Reason: The threshold for the itemized federal income tax deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses is reduced to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI) through 2023. It’s scheduled to go to 10% of AGI for 2021, although it would not be surprising if Congress extends the more-favorable 7.5% of AGI deduction threshold into 2024.

Strategy: In preparation for filing your 2023 Form 1040, comb through your records for deductible medical expenses. Some you might not have considered could put you over the deduction threshold. For instance, you may have incurred expenses in 2023 relating to COVID-19 treatment. Other deductible expenses aren’t as obvious.

Here’s a “top 20” list of unusual expenses culled from IRS Pub. 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses.”

1. Abortion. Deduct the amount paid for a legal abortion.

2. Acupuncture. Include in medical expenses the amount you pay for acupuncture.

3. Alcoholism treatment. A deduction is allowed for inpatient treatment at a therapeutic center for alcohol addiction. This includes meals and lodging provided by the center during treatment.

4. Artificial teeth. Write off the amount you pay for artificial teeth.

5. Birth control pills. A deduction is allowed for birth control pills prescribed by a doctor.

6. Breast pumps and supplies. The cost of breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation is deductible.

7. Chiropractor. Fees paid to a chiropractor for medical care count toward a deduction.

8. Contact lenses. You can deduct contact lenses needed for medical reasons, plus the cost of equipment and materials required for using contact lenses, such as saline solution and enzyme cleaner.

9. Fertility enhancement. Deduct the cost of the following procedures to overcome an inability to have children.

• Procedures such as in vitro fertilization (including temporary storage of eggs or sperm).

• Surgery, including an operation to reverse prior surgery that prevented the person operated on from having children.

10. Lead-based paint removal. You can include in medical expenses the cost of removing lead-based paints from surfaces in your home to prevent a child who has or had lead poisoning from eating the paint. These surfaces must be in poor repair (peeling or cracking) or within the child’s reach.

11. Legal fees. You may be able to write off legal fees you paid that are necessary to authorize treatment for mental illness.

12. Medical conferences. Include amounts paid for admission and transportation to a medical conference if it concerns the chronic illness of yourself, your spouse or a dependent and is necessary for that person’s medical care. Caution: The cost of meals and lodging while attending the conference isn’t deductible.

13. Oxygen. A deduction is allowed for oxygen and oxygen equipment to relieve breathing problems caused by a medical condition.

14. Pregnancy test. Write off the amount paid to purchase a pregnancy test kit to determine if you’re pregnant.

15. Psychiatric care. You can deduct amounts paid for psychiatric care. This includes the cost of supporting a mentally ill dependent at a specially equipped medical center where the dependent receives medical care.

16. Stop-smoking programs. The IRS says you can deduct amounts paid for a program to help quit smoking. However, this doesn’t include payments for drugs that don’t require a prescription, such as nicotine gum or patches that are designed to help stop smoking.

17. Telephone equipment. Count toward your deduction the cost of special telephone equipment that enables a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or has a speech disability to communicate over a regular telephone. Also, repair costs are deductible.

18. Transplants. Deduct amounts paid for the medical care you receive because you are a donor or a possible donor of a kidney or other organ. This includes transportation.

19. Vasectomy. Write off the amount you pay for a vasectomy.

20. Wig. Finally, the IRS provides that you can deduct the cost of a wig purchased upon the advice of a physician for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from disease.