Breast Reconstruction, Teeth Whitening, Vision Correctiton Surgery – Tax Deductible Or Not?

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There are 3 types of special medical expenses that I thought would be interesting to look into:

  • vision correction surgery
  • breast reconstruction; and
  • teeth whitening

These are surgeries or procedures that most of the time are considered cosmetic and therefore you’d think that they could not be deducted on a tax return.

The IRS typically only allows a deduction for these types of surgeries if it is to fix a deformity, due to a disease, or because of an accident. If an elective medical expense falls into one of those categories, it (along with all other allowable medical expenses) still have to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income to be included as a deduction on your tax return.

So, what do you think… deductible or not??

Vision Correction Surgery
More and more people are getting this surgery done to correct their vision. Most of the time this is purely an elective surgery. So the question is – can it be included as a medical expense deduction?

The answer is YES! The IRS allows vision correction surgery as part of the medical expense deduction because “it promotes the proper function of the body.”

Breast Reconstruction
There are various reasons for breast reconstruction – mastectomy, other diseases, or to change the way you look. Unfortunately only the first two reasons qualify as a deductible expense.

So YES, breast reconstruction is deductible — as long it is to help fight a disease such as cancer or to fix a deformity resulting from a personal injury or a congenital disease.

Teeth Whitening
There are several different ways to whiten your teeth, unfortunately, it is usually NOT deductible on your tax return. The reason behind this is because teeth whitening does not fix a physical or mental disease and does not affect how your body performs. Even if the tooth whitening is to correct a discolored tooth, it will not qualify for a tax deduction.

One caveat to taking the medical deduction is that the above medical expenses must have come out of your pocket. The deduction cannot include any expenses that were covered by your insurance.