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Is My Diet Deductible

Is My Diet Deductible?

Dieting can be expensive, especially if you join a weight loss program or purchase special foods. As of April 2002, the Internal Revenue

Service recognized some weight loss expenses as tax deductible under medical expenses. According to that ruling,

"...Uncompensated amounts paid by individuals for participation in a weight-loss program as treatment for a specific disease or diseases (including obesity) diagnosed by a physician are expenses for medical care that are deductible under ยง 213, subject to the limitations of that section." (IRS Ruling, April 2, 2002)

What does this mean to the average taxpayer? It means that the cost of weight loss programs recommended by your physician for the treatment of obesity, or conditions related to obesity MAY be deductible on your taxes!

Who can deduct weight loss programs on their taxes?

In order to deduct the cost of your weight loss program under the 2002 ruling, you must itemize deductions on your taxes. You can deduct the costs of weight loss treatment IF they are not reimbursed. In addition, you can only deduct expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross annual income.

Can I deduct my weight loss program if I'm not medically obese?

You may be able to deduct expenses even if you're not diagnosed as medically obese. If your doctor has recommended weight loss as a treatment for weight-related diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, you might be eligible.

What kinds of weight loss expenses are deductible?

You can deduct doctor-recommended treatments that are specific to weight loss and maintenance. Those include, but aren't necessarily limited to: bariatric surgery (stomach stapling or gastric bypass), FDA approved weight loss drugs, hospital based programs, nutritionists, dieticians, behavioral modification programs, exercise programs and even some commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

What can't I deduct from my taxes?

Not allowed are: health club dues, nutritional supplements, over the counter appetite suppressants, low fat foods, and exercise equipment.

Liposuction is also not included as it is regarded as cosmetic surgery.

How about weight maintenance programs?

Weight maintenance programs may be deductible if your doctor deems it medically necessary to treat your condition. In other words, if maintaining your weight is part of a medically recommended treatment, it could be eligible.

Do I need documentation of my doctor's orders and expenses?

You don't need to submit documentation with your taxes, but it's wise to keep the following in case of audit: you doctor's written recommendation that you lose weight for treatment of a specific condition (and remember that obesity is an official disease), and receipts for the all costs that you deduct.

Can I still deduct the expenses if I didn't lose weight?

Yes. You don't need to show an improvement in your condition in order to deduct the costs.



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