Uncle Sam is committed to promoting a healthier nation. Since weight loss is a major issue to many Americans, you can get help during a weight loss program. This is however, only possible if your diet is in line with the numerous tax deduction conditions, as discussed below.
On a Doctor’s Recommendation
The key tax rule that can make it possible for you to write off any expenses incurred in a weight loss program is when a doctor recommends as being medically essential. Your own self-diagnosis is insufficient as the physician has to agree with you on the need to trim some pounds for health reasons.
Doctors will recommend weight loss in cases like hypertension, obesity, an upsurge in cholesterol and heart diseases. The moment your physician gives the nod, you can consider some membership charges and related costs to weight-loss groups covered. Also deductable are bariatric surgery, hospital-based and physician programs, weight loss drugs approved by FDA, nutritionists and dietitians as well as behavioral counseling costs. All these must however, be on a doctor’s recommendation.
However, some health club or spa and gym membership expenses may also qualify. If you are charged extra by your gym for any weight-loss activities that your doctor prescribes, the extra costs are deductable.
Deduction Limits for Diet Food
If a weight loss group which you belong to and whose costs are deductable, recommends that you purchase some of its weight loss food, the foods don’t qualify for deductions. Expenses for buying diet food and beverages are not considered as medical costs because they stand-in for your normal consumption for satisfying nutritional needs.
However, if the special diet helps treat or alleviate an illness, or a physician validates the need for food and normal nutritional dietary needs are not satisfied by the food, then it can be considered as medical expenses and therefore, deductable.
Since qualified weight-loss costs are considered components of the overall medical deductions as outlined in Schedule A, they have to be itemized. What this means is, the total of your medical, including dental costs has to exceed your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) by up to 7.5%. Only the amount past the income threshold can be deducted.
Example: If you have a $40,000 AGI, you have to build up over $3,000 medical costs before you can start enjoying the weight-loss deductions. Furthermore, note that only the amount that exceeds the $3,000 is deductable. This means that if the medical cost is $3,050, then only $50 can be claimed.
Furthermore, if your major objection and motivation for a weight-loss program is to improve on your appearance and beauty, don’t count on the credit. The IRS clearly warns against reasons of vanity for these deductions.