Tax Year 2013 Changes to the Itemized Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses

US taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040 should be aware that new IRS rules are in effect for 2013 tax returns to be filed in 2014. Under the new rules, the threshold for unreimbursed medical and dental expenses paid by taxpayers for themselves, spouses or dependents have increased for most individuals.

This article will briefly explain the change in the rules; it is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax attorney if you have further questions. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs.

Taxpayers under the Age of 65 in 2014

For married couples, with both spouses under the age of 65, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses will now only be deductible provided that they exceed 10 percent of the couple’s adjusted gross income (AGI) from Form 1040, line 38.

Taxpayers over the Age of 65 in 2014

For taxpayers over the age of 65, or a married couple with one spouse over the age of 65, the existing 7.5 percent threshold is still in effect for tax year 2013. Note however, that the exemption will only apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2012, and ending before January 1, 2017, if a spouse attained age 65 during or before the tax year.

Taxpayers Turning 65 in 2014

For taxpayers who turn 65 in the year 2014, (assuming they are not married to a spouse who is already 65), the 10 percent threshold should be used for calculating allowable medical and dental expenses for their 2013 tax returns. When such taxpayers turn 65 years old in 2014, the 7.5 percent threshold may then be used for filing the next year’s tax return. (Further, as noted above, beginning with the tax year 2017 return and years following, the 10 percent threshold must be used).

Taking the Medical and Dental Expenses Deduction

Generally, taxpayers may deduct medical and dental expenses paid for themselves, their spouses and their dependents. (See IRS Publication 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses” for more information). Taxpayers should keep sufficient records for each medical expense consisting of amount and date of each payment, and the name and address of each medical care provider that received payment. Also, taxpayers are advised to keep statements and/or invoices showing who received medical treatment for the claimed expense, a description of the type of medical care received, and the nature and purpose of all medical expenses.

According to the IRS, “Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness.” Such expenses generally include, “[P]ayments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.” Accordingly, expenses that are “merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation” (as well as expenses such as teeth whitening, health club dues, and cosmetic surgery) are not deductible.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Your Tax and Estate Planning

As the new tax law changes are being implemented in 2013 and subsequent years, the necessity for proper tax planning will only increase with each year. Such planning should be conducted by an experienced tax attorney. This is why you are advised to contact the experienced tax law firm of Sherayzen Law Office to help you create a thorough tax plan aimed at taking advantages of the various provisions of the U.S. tax code.