Medical and Dental Expenses May Impact Your Taxes

Medical expenses can trim taxes. Keeping good records and knowing what to deduct make all the difference. Here are four tips to help taxpayers know what qualifies as medical and dental expenses:

1. Itemize. Taxpayers can only claim medical expenses that they paid for in 2016 if they itemize deductions on a federal tax return.

2. Qualifying Expenses. Taxpayers can include most medical and dental costs that they paid for themselves, their spouses and their dependents including:

  • The costs of diagnosing, treating, easing or preventing disease.
  • The costs paid for prescription drugs and insulin.
  • The costs paid for insurance premiums for policies that cover medical care.
  • Some long-term care insurance costs.

Exceptions and special rules apply. Costs reimbursed by insurance or other sources normally do not qualify for a deduction. More examples of what costs taxpayers can and can’t deduct are in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

3. Travel Costs Count. It is possible to deduct travel costs paid for medical care. This includes costs such as public transportation, ambulance service, tolls and parking fees. For use of a car, deduct either the actual costs or the standard mileage rate for medical travel. The rate is 19 cents per mile for 2016.

4. No Double Benefit. Don’t claim a tax deduction for medical expenses paid with funds from your Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs). Amounts paid with funds from these plans are usually tax-free.

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