off weight-loss costs
How do you claim expenses for a weight-reduction
program -- the amount one paid to join? Thanks. -- Ros
Now comes the time to trim your tax bill. The Internal Revenue Service
recently ruled that expenses related to a weight-loss program can
be considered medical
expenses if medically necessary. Medical expenses are itemized
deductions that will benefit you if in total they exceed 7.5 percent
of your adjusted gross income.
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 and 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 substitute
for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs even
though it doesn't taste as good.
You can include the cost of special food in medical
expenses only if:
1) The food does not satisfy normal
2) The food alleviates or treats an illness,
3) 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 cannot multiply it in proportion
to your disdain).
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 need a
doctor to tell you that you're weight is a health problem, and you
need to lose the weight.