With Obamacare looming on the horizon and bound to affect the cost for each and every person with health insurance, many of us are wondering what medical expenses are deductible and which aren’t. In the quest to get fit and healthy, many of us put off treatments due to their cost – but that means missing out on the benefits to our bodies and to our tax returns. In fact, many treatments are tax deductible and your weekly sessions in a FIT Bodywrap© to lose weight might very well be covered by an IRS rule. Read on for more information – but please check with your tax accountant to be sure your weight loss costs are deductible.
IRS Rules Regarding Weight Loss Programs
Let’s look at the specific IRS rulings. The first one is 2002-19 and it states that the cost of participating in a weight loss program is deductible, as long as the program is prescribed by a doctor to treat a specific condition. So anyone diagnosed with the condition of obesity – a disease – can deduct the costs of treating that disease; in this case, a weight loss program. Initial joining fees and meeting fees (for programs like Weight Watchers) are covered under this rule since these are costs for medical care related to a medical condition and prescribed by a physician.
However, costs for weight loss programs can also be deductible when prescribed for other medical conditions, not just obesity. These might include heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes – anything that is adversely affected by excessive weight.
On the other hand, if you are simply joining a program in order to lose weight so you look or feel better, those costs are not deductible. This is covered in ruling 79-151. Even when your doctor recommends you lose weight in order to improve your health, unless you are diagnosed with a specific medical condition and prescribed a weight loss program as treatment, the costs to do so aren’t deductible on your tax return. Visit this page for more information on IRS tax rules regarding medical expenses.
Tax Deductible Weight Loss Treatments
What can you do to change that? Schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask him or her for a written diagnosis of a condition that requires you to lose weight in order to treat it (that should cover you in case of an IRS audit). It’s as simple as that.
The costs that may be covered because they are considered medical treatments include gym memberships, participation in a weight loss clinic or other therapies, such as body wrap sessions. Diet foods, even when purchased as part of a membership program like Jenny Craig, are not deductible. The reasoning is that we all have to eat and none of us – no matter our specific food requirements – can deduct this normal cost of living.
So, could a weekly FIT Bodywrap© session be tax deductible? As part of a weight loss prescription or physical therapy prescription, they certainly could be. If cost is an issue, ask your physical therapist, chiropractor or wellness consultant to submit an insurance claim – or simply call your insurance company and ask. If your health insurance policy covers the cost of FIT Bodywrap© sessions, then they will likely be eligible as a tax deduction, too. Do check with your tax accountant to see if there are any new rules regarding medically prescribed weight loss tools before you count on taking the deduction next year.