Deductible Medical Expenses for Seniors

The older people get, the more medical expenses they tend to incur. The only saving grace is the expenses may add up to a federal income tax deduction. Specifically, you can deduct medical expenses you are not reimbursed for to the extent they exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2016 (unchanged from 2015). However, the write-off is only available if you itemize using Schedule A of Form 1040.  

Note: If you or your spouse is age 65 or older at year end, the new 10 percent-of-AGI threshold will not take effect until 2017. In other words, the previous threshold of 7.5 percent will apply.

What if you pay medical expenses for an elderly relative? You can add those expenses to your own for tax deduction purposes if the relative is your dependent, which means you pay over half of that person’s support for the year and he or she does not file a joint federal income tax return. (Source: Internal Revenue Code Sec. 213(a)) However, you must still clear the 10 percent of AGI hurdle to claim any deduction.

Common Medical Expenses for Seniors

Here’s an alphabetical list of costs that seniors might be likely to incur that count as medical expenses for itemized deduction purposes:

The itemized federal tax deduction for medical expenses can be meaningful for elderly people who have high expenses and relatively low adjusted gross incomes. Again, don’t forget that you may be entitled to deduct medical expenses that you pay for an elderly loved one who is your dependent as defined above.

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