taxes

Are dental expenses tax-deductible?

Judy O'ConnorDear Tax Talk,
Can I deduct dental expenses I paid for someone else?
-- Don

Dear Don,
Dental expenses are deductible along with your medical expenses on Schedule A Form 1040. You can deduct dental expenses for yourself, your spouse or any dependents you claim on your return. In addition, you can deduct dental expenses for anyone you could have claimed as a dependent unless that person received $3,800 or more of gross income. Finally, you can deduct the dental and medical expenses for your child whom you do not claim because of the rules in place for children of divorced parents.

Dental expenses include any amounts paid for preventive treatment such as teeth cleanings, fillings, extractions, X-rays and braces. Also included are premiums paid for any insurance-related expenses, and the amounts paid for transportation to and from the dental care facility. However, the Internal Revenue Service draws the line for some cosmetic services such as teeth whitening, so you will not be able to deduct those teeth-whitening services from the kiosk at the mall.

An important reminder: The rules have changed regarding medical and dental deductions for the 2013 tax year. If you plan to itemize medical and dental expenses, they are only deductible to the extent that they exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. This is a significant change from the 7.5 percent threshold in place for 2012 and years prior. However, there is a temporary exemption for filers 65 and older, along with their spouses, who will remain at the 7.5 percent level through the year 2016.

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