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IRS allows weight loss tax deduction
Wednesday, March 10, 2004 3:15 am Email this article
The IRS now allows you to deduct expensive weight loss procedures, including surgery or nutrition counseling costs, from your taxable income.
Deductions are allowed for expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. You must itemize in order to take this deduction.
For example, if your adjusted gross income is $20,000, uncompensated expenses exceeding $1500 can be deducted;
?????$30,000 and the amount is $2250;
?????$40,000 and the amount is $3000;
?????$50,000 and the amount is $3750;
?????$60,000 and the amount is $4500;
?????$70,000 and the amount is $5250; etc.
The IRS designated obesity as a disease in April 2002 and established deduction guidelines in its Publication 502.
Previously, taxpayers only were allowed to claim the cost of weight loss programs recommended by a physician to treat a specific disease associated with obesity, such as hypertension.
The ruling does not define obesity. A doctor’s diagnosis is required before the surgery or nutrition counseling costs can be deducted.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Here are some commonly questions about the topic according to the Associated Press:
Q: Do I have to be obese to be eligible for the deduction?
A: The eligible taxpayer must have a doctor-diagnosed disease, including obesity, that is likely to benefit from weight-loss treatment. Heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol are other conditions that may prompt a doctor to prescribe weight loss.
Q: What kind of treatment expense is deductible?
A: It includes bariatric surgery, FDA-approved weight-loss drugs, physician and hospital-based programs, behavioral counseling, dietitians and nutritionists, as well as some commercial programs such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
Q: What expenses cannot be deducted?
A: Health club dues, nutritional supplements, over-the-counter products, diet foods and exercise equipment.
Q: What documentation must be kept for the IRS?
A: You need not submit proof of treatment and payment with your taxes. However, such documentation should be kept in case of an audit. It should include documentation that a physician told you to lose weight for a specific disease, such as obesity. It is prudent to keep records of prescriptions, as well as other receipts and invoices related to treatment.
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