As you prepare your 2003 income tax return, be sure to investigate all medical deductions that may be available to you "thanks to" ALS.
You may deduct unreimbursed medical expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, so long as they relate to the "diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease." This includes medical insurance premiums, home modifications, and the cost of getting to and from medical and therapy appointments.
Providing you meet Internal Revenue Service requirements and have proper documentation from a physician, the following expenses also may be deducted:
- The extra cost of electricity and/or batteries for lifts, wheelchairs and ventilators, and maintenance costs for these items
- The extra cost of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle over a standard vehicle
- Transportation and admission to conferences about ALS
- Impairment-related work expenses, such as an attendant to help you transfer in the bathroom; these expenses aren’t subject to the normal employee business expense limit of 2 percent of adjusted gross income
- In-home attendant care costs, when the care is provided so the primary caregiver can work or look for a job
- Expenses for an acupuncturist or Christian Science practitioner
- Nonprescription supplements recommended by a doctor for ALS
The IRS has specific and strict requirements for medical deductions, so do your homework. Make sure you have a physician’s prescription that specifies the deducted expense is to mitigate the effects of ALS, not just for general health.
Don’t assume professional tax preparers are aware of all deductions available to you; carefully outline your situation for them. Check out the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov for guidelines and tax forms. Or contact your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or call (800) 829-1040.