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Deducting medical expenses

This page has been updated for 2018 taxes and may not apply to previous years.

You can only claim the medical expense deduction if you meet specific criteria, including having expenses that are considered qualified medical expenses.

Go to this section in Credit Karma Tax: Medical and Dental Expenses

In order to deduct medical expenses, you must:

  • Itemize deductions
  • Have qualifying medical and/or dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income
  • Not receive reimbursement for those costs through a health insurance plan or other sources during the year, such as a health savings account

If you are not sure if your medical expenses qualify, the IRS provides a detailed list of qualified medical expenses in Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

Which medical expenses can I deduct?

The IRS says qualifying medical expenses must be for you, your spouse or dependents, and generally includes but is not limited to:

  • Money you paid for diagnosing, treating or preventing disease
  • Prescription drug and insulin costs
  • Insurance premiums for policies that cover qualified medical care
  • Some long-term care insurance costs

Examples of qualifying medical expenses include:

  • Hospital services
  • Eye exams, glasses and contact lenses (and contact supplies)
  • Breastfeeding supplies
  • Psychiatric care
  • Prosthetics
  • Stop-Smoking programs

Whose medical expenses can I deduct?

You may deduct qualifying medical expenses that you paid for yourself, your spouse, a qualifying dependent, or qualifying relative if the person was your spouse or dependent either at the time the medical services were provided or at the time you paid the expenses.

You can also deduct medical expenses you paid for an individual who would have been your dependent but wasn’t for the following reasons:

  • This person’s gross income was too high
  • This person filed a joint return
  • You, or your spouse if married filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return

Exception for adopted children: if you are a U.S. citizen or national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household, that child doesn't have to be a U.S. citizen or national, or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico for you to deduct medical expenses you paid for them.
Source: irs.gov

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