Deducting medical expenses
Can I deduct medical and dental bills from last year that
I paid this year? -- Jessie
An individual's deductions are based on the year they're paid.
Therefore, those medical bills from 2002 are deductible on your tax return only
if that is the year that you paid them.
could even deduct on your 2002 taxes any medical bills for services to be rendered
in 2003 as long as you paid the bills last year. For example, suppose you had
some medical bills last year, but not quite enough to meet the 7.5 percent of
income threshold the Internal Revenue Service says you must reach to deduct the
costs. However, you planned on having some medical procedures done in early 2003.
If you had arranged with your doctor to pre-bill you for the 2003 work, you can
take advantage of the not-yet-completed medical procedures on your 2002 tax return.
system is the same for dental expenses. In fact, I encounter this tax situation
a lot with dental bills since insurance coverage is minimal in this area and therefore
it's easier to get over the deduction threshold.
But if you
waited to pay any 2002 doctor bills in 2003, then they are of no use to you on
your upcoming tax filing. You'll have to wait until you file in 2004 to use them
as a deduction. Remember, it's not when you get the medical treatment; it's when
you pay for it.