Tax Deductions

Tax Deductions

In 2002, the IRS announced a new policy (IRS Ruling 2002-19) stating
that, “Obesity is medically accepted to be a disease in its own
right.” For taxpayers, this means that treatment specifically for
obesity can now be claimed as a medical deduction under certain
conditions. According to the IRS [67]:

“Uncompensated amounts paid by individuals for participation in a weight
loss program as treatment for a specific disease or diseases (including
obesity) diagnosed by a physician are expenses for medical care that are
deductible under § 213, subject to the limitations of that section.”

This policy will likely help individuals who have high expenses related to
their obesity, who itemize their deductions, and who are eligible for the
medical deduction. In addition, the ruling applies to individuals
who can participate in a flexible savings account because those
programs use the same IRS rules. This means that many persons
can put aside pre-tax dollars to use for weight management
during the year.

The text of the ruling is available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb02-
16.pdf. Patients should contact a tax professional when considering this
deduction.

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