Mar 23 2012 10:50 AM

What sort of tax write-offs and deductions exist for health care expenses?

If you are self-employed and have no options for getting health insurance, you can use Schedule C (Form 1040) to write off your health insurance premium at 100 percent provided that your business has made money. You also can deduct medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, and dependents if you establish a medical reimbursement plan for your small business.

You can deduct medical, dental, vision and similar expenses by filing Schedule A (Form 1040) if you itemize your deductions instead of claiming the standard deduction based on your filing status. But when you take a standard deduction, you lose the chance to deduct any medical expenses you may have accrued during the year.

If you decide to fill out a Schedule A, remember that there's a 7.5 percent limit based on your adjusted gross income. So, if you made $100,000, you can deduct only those medical expenses exceeding $7,500. In other words, you're responsible for the first $7,500.

Many people overlook medical expenses that can be itemized as deductions, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, co-pays, vasectomies, weight-loss programs, dental treatment, lactation devices, and travel expenses related to medical treatment.

However, there are many expenses that do not qualify for medical deductions, such as health club memberships, dietary supplements, vitamins, prescription drugs ordered from other countries, cosmetic surgery, maternity clothes and teeth whitening. For a complete list of deductible medical expenses the IRS website.

Regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else, be sure to keep your medical bills and receipts. Everything adds up and your expenses could add up to a healthy tax deduction.

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Laura Adams is a personal finance expert and award-winning author who is Senior Insurance Analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com. She represents Bankrate Insurance’s web properties in the media and works as an advocate to make sure consumers protect their financial futures by having the right kinds of insurance.

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