US Tax Advantages in Medical Tourism
Various IRS tax programs are designed to give individuals tax advantages to offset health care costs, health savings accounts and other tax-favored health plans can be used to offset most of the expenses in medical tourism. MTM recommends that you consult with your tax professional for your particular advantage.
If you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct expenses you paid that year for medical care (including dental) for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. A deduction is allowed only for expenses primarily paid for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness. Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. The cost of drugs is deductible only for drugs that require a prescription, except for insulin.
Medical expenses may include fees paid to doctors, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and Christian Science practitioners. Also included are payments for hospital services, qualified long-term care services, nursing services, and laboratory fees. Payments for acupuncture treatments or inpatient treatment at a center for alcohol or drug addiction are also deductible medical expenses. You may include amounts you paid for participating in a smoking-cessation program and for drugs prescribed to alleviate nicotine withdrawal. However, you may not deduct amounts paid for nicotine gum and nicotine patches, which do not require a prescription. You may deduct the cost of participating in a weight-loss program for a specific disease or diseases, including obesity, diagnosed by a physician. In general, you may not deduct the cost of purchasing diet food items or the cost of health club dues. In addition, you may include expenses for admission and transportation to a medical conference relating to the chronic disease of yourself, your spouse, or your dependent (if the costs are primarily for and essential to the medical care). However, you may not deduct the costs for meals and lodging while attending the medical conference.
The cost of items such as false teeth, prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, laser eye surgery, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, and guide dogs for the blind or deaf are deductible medical expenses.
You may not deduct funeral or burial expenses, over-the-counter medicines, toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, a trip or program for the general improvement of your health, or most cosmetic surgery.
You may deduct transportation costs primarily for and essential to medical care that qualifies as medical expenses. The actual fare for a taxi, bus, train, or ambulance can be deducted. If you use your car for medical transportation, you can deduct actual out-of-pocket expenses such as gas and oil, or you can deduct the standard mileage rate for medical expenses. With either method you may include tolls and parking fees.
You may include in medical expenses the incidental cost of meals and lodging charged by a hospital or similar institution if your principal reason for being there is to receive medical care.
You can only include the medical expenses you paid during the year. Your total medical expenses for the year must be reduced by any reimbursement. It makes no difference if you receive the reimbursement or if it is paid directly to the doctor or hospital.
You may include qualified medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents, including a person you claim as a dependent under a multiple support agreement. If either parent claims a child as a dependent under the rules for divorced or separated parents, each parent may deduct the medical expenses he or she actually pays for the child. You can also deduct medical expenses you paid for someone who would have qualified as your dependent except that the person didn’t meet the gross income or joint return test.
You may deduct only the amount by which your total medical care expenses for the year exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You do this calculation on Form 1040 Schedule A in computing the amount deductible.
Medical expenses include insurance premiums paid for medical care or qualified long-term care insurance. You may not deduct insurance premiums for life insurance, for policies providing for loss of wages because of illness or injury, or policies that pay you a guaranteed amount each week for a sickness. In addition, the deduction for a qualified long-term care insurance policy’s premium is limited. Refer to Publication 502, Medical, and Dental Expenses.
You may not deduct insurance premiums paid by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan (cafeteria plan) unless the premiums are included in Box 1 of your Form W-2 (PDF).
If you are self-employed and have a net profit for the year, you may be able to deduct, as an adjustment to income, amounts paid for medical insurance for yourself and your spouse and dependents on Form 1040, Line 29. Refer to Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, to determine if you are self-employed. You cannot take this deduction for any month in which you are eligible to participate in any subsidized health plan maintained by your employer or your spouse’s employer. If you do not claim 100 percent of your self-employed health insurance deduction, you can include the remaining premiums with your other medical expenses as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A.
Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, contains additional information.