Is Your Weight Loss Tax Deductible?

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We all know that this is the time of year when everyone makes resolutions to lose weight, but did you know that if you itemize your tax returns (as 40% of us do), you can monetize your weight loss?

Here’s the skinny:

Weight loss programs ARE deductible

All programs – whether a big commercial program like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or a physician or hospital-based weight loss program – can be deducted, providing your doctor has confirmed that your current weight is a threat to your health, and has therefore ordered you to enroll in a program to treat a specific disease, whether obesity (a designated disease as of 2002), hypertension, heart disease, or high cholesterol, for example. You must have this in writing.

Expenses must be legitimate

While you cannot deduct the obvious – such as the cost of diet foods (considered a personal expense), home exercise equipment, health club/gym/spa dues, nutritional supplements or any costs that are covered by insurance – legitimate program expenses include everything from initial fees to meeting fees to behavioral counseling, to appointments with physicians, dieticians, and nutritionists.

Consider costs

To get a deduction, costs must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. If you make $45,000, for example, you can deduct weight loss expenses above $3375; if you make $50,000, you can deduct expenses exceeding $3,750.

Vanity doesn’t count

Thinking about getting liposuction to suck away those extra five pounds you’re carrying on your hips? Considering joining a gym just because you want to look – and feel – better? Expenses, as such, that are merely beneficial to general health, do not count, but things like Bariatric surgery, FDA-approved weight loss drugs and other medical expenses – providing they relate to alleviating or preventing a physical or mental defect or illness – do.

6 responses to “Is Your Weight Loss Tax Deductible?”

  1. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be
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  2. If the doctor said in so many words, “I’d like you to lose some weight,” and I decide on my own to use Weight Watchers, is that tax deductible since he did not specifically say to join a diet plan?

  3. If the dr gives you a prescription than your weight loss plan might be deductible if you meet the I.R.S guild lines.

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