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The TurboTax Blog > Tax Deductions and Credits > Is PPE like Face Masks and Hand Sanitizer Tax Deductible as a Medical Expense?

Is PPE like Face Masks and Hand Sanitizer Tax Deductible as a Medical Expense?

Tax Deductions and Credits ppe and deductions

Even the best health insurance plans don’t cover everything. To ease the pain of paying high bills, there is an opportunity for you to claim your medical expenses as a deduction on your tax return. You’re eligible as long as your total medical expenses are greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, and you can itemize your deductions. This medical expense deduction applies to your medical expenses and the medical expenses of your spouse and dependents. 

Are the Amounts I Spent on Masks, Hand Sanitizer, and Other PPE Tax Deductible? 

Over the past year coronavirus has added an extra expense to many of our everyday lives. Many have spent and continue to spend countless dollars buying personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The IRS announced that the amounts paid for personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and hand sanitizer with the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus can be claimed as a medical expense deduction

Since these amounts are considered an expense for medical care, these amounts can also be paid or reimbursed under a health flexible spending arrangement (health FSA), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs). 

However, keep in mind that if the amount is paid or reimbursed under a health FSA, Archer MSA, HRA, HSA, any other health plan, your insurance, or by your employer – then it cannot be deducted on your tax return. 

Can Teachers Deduct the Cost of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Last school year and through this year has been especially trying for teachers and students alike. As some teachers made their way back to their traditional classroom settings, many had to buy their own PPE to protect themselves and their students. As these educators found ways to reopen their classroom doors safely, they more than likely have purchased PPE items such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and hand soaps. Some even had to purchase other items not reimbursed by their employer such as paint or chalk to help guide social distancing practices or plexiglass to create barriers. 

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020 on PPE like masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes to stop the spread of coronavirus can be counted towards the existing Teachers Educator Expense Deduction on your 2020 taxes (the ones you file in 2021).

Qualifying educators can deduct up to $250 of qualifying expenses per year ($500 if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible educators) under the Teachers Educator Expense Deduction. 

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Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax will ask you simple questions about you and give you the tax deductions and credit you are eligible for based on your entries. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live tax expert with an average of 12 years experience to get your questions answered. TurboTax Live tax experts are available in English and Spanish, year round to answer your questions and can review, sign, and file your return. You can also fully hand over your taxes to a TurboTax Live tax expert and have them do them from start to finish. All from the comfort of your home.

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