You know that you can deduct the cost of visits to the doctor and dentist, right? And that you can deduct the cost of parking and transportation to and from those visits?

What else is deductible? Check out this handy list:

1, Abortion
2, Acupuncture
3, Alcoholism treatment
4, Ambulance service
5, Artificial Limb
6, Artificial Teeth
7, Bandages
8, Breast Reconstruction Surgery (following a mastectomy for cancer)
9, Birth Control Pills
10, Braille Books and Magazines
11, Capital Expenses for home improvements and modifications if their main purpose is medical care.
12, Car modifications for persons with a disability.
13, Chiropractor
14, Christian Science Practitioner (whew, good for Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Suri, no?)
15, Contact Lenses
16, Crutches (buy or rent)
17, Dental Treatment (X-rays, fillings, braces, extractions and dentures but not teeth whitening)
18, Diagnostic Devices (such as glucometers)
19, Drug Addiction Treatment (so, Lindsay Lohan gets a break)
20, Drugs – the prescription kind
21, Eyeglasses
22, Eye Examinations
23, Eye Surgery
24, Fertility Enhancement (including in vitro fertilization)
25, Guide Dog or Other Animal for persons with disabilities
26, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) payments
27, Hearing Aids (including batteries)
28, Home Health Care
29, Hospital Services
30, Insurance Premiums
31, Laboratory Fees
32, Lead-Based Paint Removal from your home (scraping is okay, repainting is not deductible)
33, Legal Fees (only for authorization of treatment for mental illness)
34, Lifetime Care—Advance Payments
35, Lodging for medical care
36, Long-Term Care premiums
37, Qualified Long-Term Care Services
38, Qualified Long-Term Care Insurance Contracts (note that there are limits)
39, Medical Conferences primarily for and necessary for medical care
40, Medical Information Plan
41, Medicines (prescribed only – except for insulin which need not be prescribed)
42, Nursing Home (medical care – not for lodging or personal care)
43, Nursing Services
44, Operations if medically necessary (elective cosmetic surgery is not deductible – poor Joan Rivers)
45, Optometrist
46, Organ Donations and Transplants
47, Osteopath
48, Oxygen
49, Psychiatric Care
50, Psychoanalysis
51, Psychologist
52, Special Education for children with disabilities
53, Stop-Smoking Programs (does not include nicotine gum or patches)
54, Surgery
55, Telephone equipment for hearing impaired (includes TTY and TDD equipment)
56, Television equipment for hearing impaired
57, Therapy
58, Transportation (includes bus, taxi, train, or plane fares or ambulance service for patients, parents and nurses)
59, Trips (if the trip is primarily for, and essential to, receiving medical services)
60, Vasectomy
61, Vision Correction Surgery
62, Weight-Loss Program (only for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician)
63, Wheelchair
64, Wig (upon the advice of a physician for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from disease)
65, X-ray

So what’s NOT deductible?

1, Baby Sitting, Childcare, and Nursing Services for a Normal, Healthy Baby
2, Controlled Substances (no tax deduction for buying pot)
3, Cosmetic Surgery which is elective
4, Dancing Lessons, even if for improving health (so sorry, Marie Osmond)
5, Diapers or Diaper Service
6, Electrolysis or Hair Removal
7, Funeral Expenses
8, Hair Transplant
9, Health Club Dues
10, Household Help, even if recommended by a doctor
11, Illegal Operations and Treatments
12, Insurance Premiums (see comments)
13, Maternity Clothes
14, Medicines and Drugs From Other Countries (including Canada and Mexico)
15, Nonprescription Drugs and Medicines
16, Nutritional Supplements such as vitamins unless they are recommended by a medical professional for a specific medical condition
17, Personal Use Items such as toothpaste and tampons
18, Swimming Lessons, even if for improving health
19, Teeth Whitening
20, Weight-Loss Program unless it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (Valerie Bertinelli and Kirstie Alley are both out of luck)

You should keep records to substantiate your claims. And remember, this is just a check list. The expenses listed may be subject to phase outs, eligibility requirements and other limitations. If you’re not sure whether these expenses apply to you, ask your tax professional!

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.


  1. What else is deductible? Check out this handy list:

    30, Insurance Premiums

    So what’s NOT deductible?

    12, Insurance Premiums

    This puzzles me…?

  2. Wow, good eye! As a general rule, you can deduct insurance premiums you pay for policies that cover medical care.

    There are exceptions. You cannot include insurance premiums that you pay which are reimbursed by an employer (unless those are included in your W-2). You also cannot deduct premiums paid for life insurance policies, disability policies and automobile insurance premiums even if there is a medical care component. There are some additional specific exceptions.

    If you’re not sure about a specific type of premium, ask your tax professional.

  3. Thanks. Btw, I asked my tax professional, I said, “Mom, what about this” and she replied “I dunno, ask her.” At least you answered my question before directing me to the runaround, which you certainly could not have known about. : )

  4. Hey Kelly, interesting list!

    As a Christian Science Practitioner it’s nice to be included. I certainly like to think of what I do as a viable and reliable means or health care. We’ve found, through over century of Christian Science healing practice that prayer can be a very effective healer.

    BTW: We are not connected with Scientology (ie: Tom, Katie, Suri, etc). That’s something totally different from Christian Science, which was founded Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

    Thanks for the excellent site!

    – John Minard
    Christian Science Committee on Publication
    for the Internet

  5. I was prescribed massages by my physician. I have Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia and degenerative joint disease. Would they be tax deductible ?

    • Maria, If you have a prescription, they should be. Just make sure they’re prescribed as treatment and not merely “recommended.”

  6. I was reading the comments and on here I read that; as a general rule you can deduct insurance premiums you pay for policies that cover medical care. My question is: does this include vision and dental policies as well? My husband pays for these out of his paycheck. When deducting this at tax time , will we need to bring his check stubs?

  7. My son & daughter in law filed bankrupcty, chapter 13, can he deduct fees, attorney, etc. He has to pay so much a pay period, is that deductable ?

  8. From your list, I am going to assume that my COBRA dental continuation payments are deductible. Thanks

    • John V, I am not sure what that is exactly but if you mean that you are using COBRA to continue to pay for dental insurance, then yes.

  9. It’s best to ask your employer if your medical/dental/vision insurance premiums are tax deferred or not. If they are, you CAN’T claim the insurance premiums. Also, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (aka Flex card) through your employer by having a payroll deduction for the account/card, (usually used for RX’s and co-pay’s) it’s also tax deferred and NOT claimable on your taxes. However, this is the cheapest way to pay for your medical expenses because your not being taxed on the income withheld on your paycheck for your insurance and Flexible Spending Account.

    • Jan,

      It depends on the kind of Medicare (as well as whether you itemize).

      Medicare A is not always deductible. To the extent that you pay for it out of pocket, it’s deductible – this is generally limited to federal retirees. Most folks receive Medicare “premium free” which means that you don’t pay for the coverage.

      Medicare B and D are considered insurance and are typically deducted from Social Security payments. If you choose to pay for Medicare B and Medicare D, you can include it as a deductible expense (again, assuming that you itemize).

  10. are medicare supplemental policy premiums deductable. Also, my husband has alzaheimers and I paid an individual for sitting at my home. Can I deduct
    wages and doI need to file a 1099 for the sitter

  11. miriam gravatte Reply

    Kelly, what did you mean when you said, “Most folks receive Medicare ‘premium free’, which means that you don’t pay for the coverage”? My husband was not a federal employee, and his Medicare premiun is deducted from his SS check. I am not a federal employee, and I send a check every 3 months for my Medicare coverage until I retire this year. We both signed up for A & B only. So, are our premiums deductible?

  12. Miriam, you can only deduct the premiums that you pay for. Check your statement. Most taxpayers only pay for one Medicare premium (usually B). I may blog this separately to clarify.

  13. Mary Anne Schettle Reply

    My mother is in the dementia ward of a nursing home. Her care costs over $8000.00 per month. Is this cost tax deductible?

    • Dementia can be tough, like Alzheimers, because those patients require extra care that may not be deductible. Clearly, the medical portion is deductible but the living expenses may not be. Check your mom’s bill and see how it’s stated. If it’s separately stated (and if it’s not, ask for it to be), you should be able to separate out the “cost of living” bits from the medical care. The medical portion will be deductible.

  14. my husband long haul truck driver….works for a company…What can he deduct on his taxes.. I know so much per mile.. But not sure of the amount…
    and anything else you can think of… (thanks)

  15. On March 13, 2010 my neighbor’s tree crashed through my house. Insurance paid for basic renovation of the house and property loss (minus depreciation). Since a large part of the house had to be demolished, we made addtional improvements at a cost of $65,000. This was paid for by withdrawing the necessary money from my IRA ($100,000 including tax withholdings). Are any of these expenses reportable?

  16. My mother and grandmother had what is generally considered cosmetic surgery around the eye, called Blepharoplasty, because they had lost a great deal of their peripheral vision. The surgery was recommended by their doctors for this problem. Since the results are better when I’m younger, I’m thinking about having it done now, but since a doctor has not recommended it yet, can it be deducted or would it be considered cosmetic?

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