tax deduction for weight loss camp- what is excluded?
The IRS is pretty specific as to how you can take a deduction and for whom you can take it.
Can I deduct my gym membership and nutrition supplements?
In a word, “no”. Let’s quote the IRS here …
“Deductible medical expenses may include but are not limited to:
Payments to participate in a weight-loss program for a specific disease or diseases, including obesity, diagnosed by a physician but not ordinarily, payments for diet food items or the payment of health club dues.”
Although your doctor’s diagnosis can essentially authorize your tax deduction for weight loss camp, ordinary expenses are excluded.
“You cannot include the cost of diet food or beverages in medical expenses because the diet food and beverages substitute for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs.” more…
Tax Deduction for Weight-Loss Programs
“You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of a weight-loss program if the purpose of the weight loss is the improvement of appearance, general health, or sense of well-being. You cannot include amounts you pay to lose weight unless the weight loss is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). If the weight-loss treatment is not for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician, you cannot include either the fees you pay for a membership in a weight reduction group or fees for attendance at periodic meetings. Also, you cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa.”
How Much of the Expenses Can You Deduct?
“Generally, you can deduct on Schedule A (Form 1040) only the amount of your medical and dental expenses that is more than 10% of your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income). But if either you or your spouse was born before January 2, 1949, you can deduct the amount of your medical and dental expenses that is more than 7.5% of your AGI.”
Can I take a tax deduction for weight loss camp for my obese teen?
“You can include medical expenses you paid for your dependent.”
What about my obese spouse?
“You can include medical expenses you paid for your spouse.”
So, if a physician has diagnosed the disease as obesity and you include that member of your household on your tax return, you may claim a deduction. You may be missing out on a valuable deduction if you, your spouse, or a dependent has attended a weight loss camp after a doctor’s diagnosis of obesity.
Who qualifies as a dependent?
Think about who you may consider as a dependent according to the IRS. Details below are taken directly from http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html
You can include medical expenses you paid for your dependent. For you to include these expenses, the person must have been your dependent either at the time the medical services were provided or at the time you paid the expenses. A person generally qualifies as your dependent for purposes of the medical expense deduction if both of the following requirements are met.
- The person was a qualifying child (defined later) or a qualifying relative (defined later), and
- The person was a U.S. citizen or national or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico. If your qualifying child was adopted, see Exception for adopted child , later.”You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician) such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). This includes fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group as well as fees for attendance at periodic meetings. You cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities. You cannot include the cost of diet food or beverages in medical expenses because the diet food and beverages subsititute for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs. You can include the cost of special food in medical expenses only if: The food does not satisfy normal nutritional needs, The food alleviates or treats an illness, and The need for the food is substantiated by a physician. The amount you can include in medical expenses is limited to the amount by which the cost of the special food exceeds the cost of a normal diet.”
You can include medical expenses you paid for an individual that would have been your dependent except that:
- He or she received gross income of $3,900 or more in 2013,
- He or she filed a joint return for 2013, or
- You, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2013 return.
Exception for adopted child.
If you are a U.S. citizen or national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household for 2013, that child does not have to be a U.S. citizen or national, or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
A qualifying child is a child who:
- Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
- Under age 19 at the end of 2013 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly),
- Under age 24 at the end of 2013, a full-time student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), or
- Any age and permanently and totally disabled,
- Lived with you for more than half of 2013,
- Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2013, and
- Did not file a joint return, other than to claim a refund.]
There you have it. Before you listen to anyone else, make sure you refer directly to the facts. However, the money you will save living a healthier life with reduced medical expenses can be exceeded by your increased productivity regardless of the tax deduction for weight loss camp. Click here for info on Insurance Coverage for Weight Loss .