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Funeral costs


Dear Tax Talk,
Are funeral expenses tax deductible? -- Margarita

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Dear Margarita,
Some people think that medical expenses include funeral expenses, but the Internal Revenue Service does not share the same view.

Medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. The medical expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. Expenses related to the taxpayer's last illness qualify as medical expenses even though the taxpayer did not survive.

However, since funeral expenses do not fit within the treatment of the patient, they are not medical expenses.

Funeral expenses are a permitted deduction for estate tax purposes. When a taxpayer dies and leaves a substantial estate, the value of those assets are subject to estate tax. For taxpayers who die in 2004, an estate is subject to estate tax if the value of the assets after allowable deductions is more than $1.5 million. Allowable deductions would include the funeral and last illness expenses, debts and administration costs.

-- Posted: March 26, 2004




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