In these uncertain economic times, we’re all trying to count our pennies and every bit counts. So with tax season looming, it helps to know what you can safely write off. If you’ve made a concerted effort to lose weight and have been directed to do so by your doctor, you may be eligible to write off expenses related to your weight loss. IRS Form 502 breaks it down:
“You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). This includes fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group as well as fees for attendance at periodic meetings. You cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities.”
Smart Money also offers this tip in “Can I write off this Case of SnackWells?”: There may be another way you can get the tax break: by participating in an employer-sponsored medical-expense reimbursement arrangement (often called a “flexible spending account” or a “cafeteria benefit plan”). These plans allow you to set aside part of your salary in a special account, which isn’t taxed. You then turn in copies of your uninsured medical bills and receive tax-free reimbursements from your account. In effect, this is the same as getting a deduction.
For more information, check out our Fitbriefing entitled The IRS, Your Weight and You.