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Can Florida Residents Deduct Medical and Dental Expenses?

According to IRS Tax Tip 2011-21, if a taxpayer itemizes deductions on a Form 1040, a taxpayer may be able to deduct his or her expenses paid in the year 2010 for dental and medical care expenses. This would include dental or medical care expenses paid for the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, and the taxpayer's dependents. For instance, taxpayers may be able to deduct medical care expenses only if the "total" medical care expenses for the year "exceed" 7.5% of total adjusted gross income (AGI).

It is important to note, however, that a deduction is only allowed for medical or dental expenses when they are "primarily paid for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness." In other words, medical care expenses generally include payments for "the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body." Similarly, only prescription drugs are deductible when, except that insulin prescriptions are nondeductible.

In addition, a taxpayer, in formulating his or her tax return, may only include medical expenses that are "actually" paid during the year, reduced reimbursements from insurance companies or other like entities. This rule applies regardless of whether the reimbursement is paid to a doctor, hospital, or other like person or entity. Likewise, transportation costs may be deductible as a "medical expense" if they can be linked to being necessary for medical care. For example, things such as transportation by a bus, ambulance, car, taxi, helicopter, and the like may be deductible as a "medical expense." Specifically, in using a car for medical transportation, a taxpayer may be able to deduct "out-of-pocket expenses" which include, but are not limited to, gas, oil, tolls, and parking fees.

Furthermore, taxpayers may include "qualified medical expenses" for the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, and the taxpayer's dependents, which generally also include a person a taxpayer claims as a dependent under a "multiple support agreement." In addition, a taxpayer may be able to deduct medical expenses for a child if either parental taxpayer claims a child as a dependent under that state's standard rules for divorce.

Furthermore, "medical expenses" may also possibly be deductible if the person would have qualified as the taxpayers dependent but for the fact that the dependent did not qualify under the joint return or gross income tests. Finally, it is important to note that withdrawals from Flexible Spending Arrangements, as well as distributions from Health Savings Accounts, may be tax exempt under certain situations.

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