The Medical Deductions Quiz: Breast Implants? Sex Therapy? Wigs? Music Lessons?

Tax MD

Test your TaxMed IQ

How well are YOU taking care of your (tax) body?  Tell me whether these are Y-Deductible;  N-Not Deductible;  USC –Under Specific Circumstances

Answers in the Comment section below

  1. The one you ALL ask me about –  Cost of hotel room for sex therapy?
  2. Navajo healing ceremonies (a/k/a “sings”)
  3. Jewish healing ceremonies (a/k/a “zings”)
  4. Clarinet lessons
  5. Flute lessons
  6. Wigs
  7. Teeth whitening to reverse age-related discoloration
  8. Marijuana, prescribed by a physician in a state where it is legal.
  9. Air Conditioner
  10. Prospective  kidney donor expenses
  11. Breast implants
  12. Liposuction

Which are true deductions?!

Answers below (in comments)

(Please note that legitimate and unreimbursed medical expenses are only deductible if you itemize deductions and only to  the extent that they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% if 65 or over). See your tax adviser or physician (probably not!)  for further details.)


  1. 1. Nope — the lodging is on your own. (or your therapist’s)
    2. Actually — yes.
    3. No such thing. Or Zing. (I do need to write my congressman for some Kaballah deductions.)
    4. Actually — yes — if advised by dentist for treatment of tooth defects.
    5. Don’t get carried away. Even though my flute teacher advises that I should form lips for kissing I don’t think this passes muster as a medical necessity.
    6. Yes — if advised by doctor as essential to mental health of person who lost all hair from disease.
    7. Nope — considered cosmetic.
    8. Nope. Nope for dope.
    9. Yes — the equipment is deductible as a home improvement where necessary for relief from allergy or to relieve breathing difficulties.
    11.Unfortunately this is generally considered a “cosmetic procedure”, even if it follows a mastectomy, and thus generally not deductible unless there is a related “medical purpose”. I have also read that if a physician prescribes breast implants as medically necessary then you are probably safe deducting it. It is also true that in one case “the Tax Court allowed an exotic dancer to claim a depreciation deduction for breast implants essential for her business”*. I did not make these rules and I agree that they may seem arbitrary and unfair.
    12. No — at least not yet, as far as I know.
    * This and other selected information is per JK Lasser’s “Your Income Tax 2007″

  2. Emily says:

    Clarinet lessons advised by a dentist for tooth defects?

    Can I deduct the plane flight to Arizona for my Navajo healing ceremony? Because that would be awesome.

  3. Clarinet lessons indeed. You think the logic defect-ive? Or that I am not telling the tuth?

    On your Awesome question on the deductiblity of your airfare — because of the complexity of the tax code I am refraining from commenting on individual situations. I would only say that this certainly warrants further investigation on your part AND to keep in mind that one must “itemize” and exceed the “7.5% threshold” to take advantage of any legitimate medical deductions.

  4. ninjanurse says:

    I see a lot of elderly with respiratory disease, and it’s cheaper to get them an air conditioner than to 911 them during summer in the city.
    We got totally ripped off buying a wig for my mother, and no deduction because she is too broke to pay taxes. I advise anyone facing cancer treatment to not get steered to an expensive wig store where they will pay hundreds of dollars for something they won’t end up wearing.

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