Are braces tax deductible?

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It might surprise you to learn that your braces or orthodontic aligners qualify as a tax deduction. Isn't that some great news for 2020?

Most non-cosmetic dental expenses are tax-deductible, and in this post, we'll look at what you can and cannot claim for on your tax return, and how you can claim these expenses.

Are you Sure Braces Are Tax Deductible?

According to the IRS, you get a non-refundable tax credit to reduce any taxes you have to pay on necessary medical treatments. You can claim these expenses in any 12 months in the fiscal year, provided no-one else or yourself have previously claimed the costs in the previous year.

If you paid for orthodontist work, you would claim it on your income tax and benefit return (Schedule A Form 1040). These expenses include orthodontic and dental work. The coverage includes dental care and orthodontic work, such as braces.

Where Can You Claim Your Dental Expenses? How Much Can You Claim?

To claim your dental expenses, you'll need to file an itemized tax return with the IRS. You only have the option of claiming unreimbursed costs, including the cost of your orthodontic treatment. The limitation on this deduction is 10% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).

For instance, if your Adjusted Gross Income is $80,000, the initial $8,000 in unreimbursed dental expenses isn't tax-deductible.

What are Qualifying Dental Claims?

Most dental claims qualify for a deduction on your tax return. All your orthodontic treatments, including braces and Invisalign, qualify for a deduction. It's surprising to see that at-home orthodontic options like SmileDirectClub and Smilelove qualify for deductions as well.

  • While adding on your dental expenses might seem like a great way to fatten up your tax return, you need to take note of the following requirements for qualifying expenses.
  • Medical and dental expenses must amount to at least 10% of your AGI for the tax year
  • Qualifying costs include fees paid for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, mitigation, or the cure of any disease, as well as vision and dental costs
  • The taxpayer, their spouse, or dependent must incur the costs
  • You may only deduct those expenses from the tax year in question

What Documents Are Required to Support Your Medical Expense Claim?

The IRS has a handy qualifying tool on its website to help you determine if you qualify for a deduction on your orthodontic expenses. When registering for the process, you'll need the following information.

  • Your filing status
  • The amount and the type of expense
  • The year of the expense
  • Your annual adjusted gross income
  • If you experienced reimbursement or paid through your Archer Medical Savings Account or Health Savings Account
 The questionnaire takes 15-minutes to complete, and you'll know by the end if you qualify for the deduction. The IRS states on the site that this calculator doesn't count for advice. You should always check with a tax attorney before submitting expense claims on your tax return

Are There Any Exceptions to My Dental Coverage?

There are a few exceptions to dental work that you can claim on your tax return. Cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as teeth whitening, don't qualify for a rebate from the taxman. If you have any concerns, make sure you speak to your tax advisor before filing.

Keep Your Receipts

Make sure you keep all your receipts for your treatment sessions. When filing an itemized tax return, there is always the possibility that you may receive a request for an audit.

If you do get audited, you'll need to prove your expenses, or you'll end up in trouble. Keep your receipts available and in storage for at least 5-years before throwing them away.


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