You can include in medical expenses amounts paid for transportation primarily for, and essential to, medical care, including (not all inclusive):
(1) bus, taxi, train, or plane fares, or ambulance service;
(2) transportation expenses of a nurse or other person who can give injections, medications, or other treatment required by a patient who is traveling to get medical care and is unable to travel alone; and
(3) transportation expenses for regular visits to see a mentally ill dependent, if these visits are recommended as a part of treatment.
If you use your car for medical reasons, you can include out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, in calculating deductible medical expenses. However, you cannot include (not all inclusive):
- depreciation expense,
- insurance expense,
- general repair, or
- maintenance expenses.
Instead of using actual expenses, you can use the standard mileage rate available for the use of a car for medical reasons. Parking fees and tolls can be added to medical expenses whether you use actual expenses or the standard mileage rate.
The cost of transportation for going to and from work, even if your condition requires an unusual means of transportation is not a deductible medical expense. Nor is the travel for purely personal reasons to another city for an operation or other medical care a deductible medical expense. Similarly, travel that is merely for the general improvement of your health is not a deductible medical expense.
The cost of meals and lodging at a hospital or similar medical-care institution may be deductible as a medical expense if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care. However, meals that are not part of inpatient care cannot be included in medical expenses.
Generally, special foods or beverages an individual with a medical problem consumes as a substitute for the food that he or she normally consumes to satisfy his or her nutritional needs, is a personal expense and not a medical expense. However, medical expenses may include the cost of special food if the special food alleviates or treats an illness, the special food is not part of the normal nutritional needs of the taxpayer, and the need for the special food is substantiated by a physician. Even here, however, the amount a taxpayer 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.
The cost of diet food or beverages is not includible in medical expenses because the diet food and beverages substitute for what is normally consumed to satisfy nutritional needs.
You also may include in medical expenses the cost of lodging not provided in a hospital or similar institution if the following conditions are met:
(1) the lodging is provided while you are away from home;
(2) the lodging is primarily for and essential to medical care;
(3) the medical care is provided by a doctor in a licensed hospital or in a medical care facility related to, or the equivalent of, a licensed hospital;
(4) the lodging is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances; and
(5) there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel away from home.
The amount included in medical expenses for lodging cannot be more than $50 for each night for each person. The cost of lodging for a person traveling with the person receiving the medical care can be included as a medical expense for lodging.
The cost of medical care in a nursing home, home for the aged, or similar institution is included as a medical expense. This includes the cost of meals and lodging in the home if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care. If the reason for being in the home is personal rather than medical, the cost of meals and lodging cannot be included as a medical expense.
Please contact the office of Don Fitch Accountancy at (760)567-3110 or Email Don.Fitch@CPA.com if you have any questions or would like additional information.
DON FITCH, CPA
74478 Highway 111 #3
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Toll Free: (877)CPA-Help or (877)272-4357
P.S. My firm is based upon referrals. Please feel free to refer my firm to anyone you know that is looking for a new CPA and/or tax preparer. Thank you in advance.
(Updated 07082021-01 320-720)