Shed Holiday Pounds, Get a Tax Deduction

Tax Tips

If you’re like me, putting on a few pounds over the holidays is nothing new (in fact, I absolutely believe it’s part of the joys of the season)! Of course, it takes months of watching what I eat and exercising to shed the extra weight. But the silver lining to my weight loss woes is that many types of weight loss expenses can be tax deductible.

So, if you are ready to start your post-holiday diet, here’s what you need to know (besides the fact that inhaling a 2-pound box of See’s Candy may not be the smartest strategy!)

Weighing In

What can you deduct on your taxes if you itemize?

  • The initial fees to join a weight loss program
  • Additional fees to attend regular meetings (such as Weight Watchers) where people develop diet plans, receive menus and info and discuss the challenges of losing weight.
  • Bariatric surgery
  • FDA approved weight-loss drugs
  • Physician and hospital-based weight loss programs
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Dietitians and nutritionists

What can’t you deduct?

  • Health club dues
  • Cost of home exercise equipment
  • Cost of diet foods, such as pre-packaged meals from Jenny Craig or NutriSystem
  • The cost of enrollment in a weight loss program to improve appearance, general health or sense of well-being, rather than to treat a specific medical problem associated with being overweight
  • Non-prescription weight loss products
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Any costs that are covered by insurance

If you’re planning on deducting your weight loss program, keep receipts and your doctor’s order as back-up documentation for your taxes. You’ll want to make sure that your paperwork states your physician’s name and reason for treatment.

Ultimately, losing weight isn’t about getting a tax deduction, it’s about getting healthy and feeling great. But if knowing that you’ll get money back in your pocket at tax time is extra motivation to get healthy, all the better. Here’s to your fit bod and to a bigger refund.