How to Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes

Two Methods:Help with Medical ExpensesDeducting Medical Expenses on Taxes

The United State Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows tax payers the option to deduct some medical expenses. If you have paid 7.5 percent or higher of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) toward medical costs during the current tax year, you can choose to itemize your deductions and deduct a portion of those costs from the taxes you owe. For anyone who pays a high amount of medical expenses for themselves or others, it is a good idea to keep track of your medical expenses, in case you can add this itemized deduction. This article will tell you how to deduct medical expenses on taxes.

Help with Medical Expenses

Sample Deductible Medical Expenses

Sample Family Medical Expenses

Deductible Medical Expenses Cheat Sheet

Deducting Medical Expenses on Taxes

  1. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 1
    Review the list of deductible medical expenses on the IRS website. Search for Publication 502. Read the detailed list of deductible and ineligible medical expenses for the current tax year.
    • The deductible medical expenses list does change from year to year, so do not judge based on a previous years' IRS publication.
  2. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 2
    Keep your receipts from medical costs throughout the year. Create a file where you can put all your receipts for everything from health insurance premiums to transportation expenses to and from medical appointments. By making an effort to keep them throughout the year, you are more likely to have a complete list of verifiable expenses at the end.
  3. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 3
    Keep a spreadsheet of all your medical expenses. Include columns for the date, service, service provider, doctor prescribing the service and notes. Update your medical expenses based on your receipts monthly, or after each expense.
    • Set your spreadsheet to keep a running tab of your medical expenses. On both Microsoft Excel and open source spreadsheet programs, you can select the column that you want to be added and click the "Formula" button. Select the cells you would like it to add, and there should be a total that changes as you add more entries into the "Cost" column.
  4. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 4
    Keep track of family members' medical expenses. Your medical expenses should include everyone who is included in your tax return, such as a spouse or children. However, it can also include other family members' expenses that you pay for, as long as it is not claimed on their own tax returns.
    • You should also collect original receipts for family medical expenses.
  5. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 5
    Remove any medical expenses that are reimbursed by the doctor, an agency or an insurance company. It is illegal and fraudulent to deduct any medical expenses for which the financial burden did not fall on you.
  6. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 6
    Calculate your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) at year's end. AGI is calculated subtracting a short list of expenses from all of the income you received from various sources during the year. Gather your W-2s and other forms, for you and your spouse, that show what income you received in the last year.
    • Gross income includes the following income you may have received in the current financial year: wages or salary, bonuses, rents, royalty, alimony, interest, dividends, pensions, income from a business operation, annuities and income tax refunds.
    • Adjustments to gross income include the following payments made during the current financial year: business expenses, alimony paid, Health Savings Plan contributions, one half of self-employment tax, contributions to IRA retirement accounts, college tuition and some moving expenses.
  7. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 7
    Total your deductible medical expenses from the current tax year. You should be able to take the total of your spreadsheet at the end of the year. Add medical expenses from each family member together.
  8. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 8
    Multiply your AGI by 7.5 percent, or 0.075. However, if this number is less than your total medical expenses, subtract this number from your medical expenses. The result will be the total amount you can deduct for medical expenses.
    • If this number is more than your total medical expenses, you cannot deduct your medical expenses.
    • For example, if your AGI was $50,000 and you spent $6,940 on deductible medical expenses in 2011, then you could itemize a deduction for medical expenses. This is because 7.5 percent of $50,000 is $3,750, less than what you spent on medical costs. Your total deduction would be $6,940 minus $3,750, or $3,190.
  9. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 9
    Request a Schedule A from the IRS, or print a copy online at This is also called IRS Form 1040. You cannot deduct medical costs if you use the Form 1040 EZ, a form with fewer blanks for people with few deductions.
  10. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 10
    Fill in the top of the Form 1040, which says "Medical and Dental Expenses." Enter your deductible medical expenses in blank number 1 and your AGI in blank number 2. Enter 7.5 percent of your AGI in blank number 3 and that amount subtracted from your medical expenses in blank number 4.
    • If your medical expense total is lower than 7.5 percent of your AGI, you will enter "0" in blank number 4.
  11. Image titled Deduct Medical Expenses on Taxes Step 11
    Complete your taxes and send them in before the due date in April. You can submit your taxes by mail, through a tax preparer or by using the e-file process. Although you do not need to send in your medical receipts, you should keep them and your spreadsheet in case of an audit.


  • If you have a large amount of itemized deductions, you may want to go to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), in order to make sure you are making the most of your deductions and following tax laws.


  • Do not attempt to include ineligible expenses in your deduction. In an audit, you could be fined for tax fraud.

Things You'll Need

  • IRS Form 1040
  • Medical expense receipts
  • Spreadsheet
  • W-2
  • IRS Publication 502
  • Tax preparer (optional)
  • Bank account/retirement account statements

Article Info

Categories: Taxes and Fees