Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. But, unfortunately, there’s another, less enjoyable season situated right smack dab in the middle of the two…
While tax season is definitely not anyone’s favorite time of year, it doesn’t have to completely ruin all the fun and sun we’ve been looking forward to after a tough winter. In fact, tax season could actually make your spring springier and summer summerier.
Preposterous, you say? How could that be, you ask?
Well, this might sound crazy but it’s almost like the IRS wants you to get LASIK! Here’s why:
- LASIK could be a tax deduction
- LASIK is one of the most popular uses for tax refunds
- LASIK is a qualifying medical expense covered by FSAs and HSAs
- LASIK is a tax-free medical expense
In fact, laser eye surgery is specifically mentioned in IRS Publication 502, which lays out the rules for medical and dental expenses. According to the IRS:
“You can include in medical expenses the amount you pay for eye surgery to treat defective vision, such as laser eye surgery.”
But before we start a petition to formally change Tax Season to LASIK Season, let’s take a closer look at what the IRS says about LASIK and medical expenses and whether or not you’ll be able to deduct the expense from your taxes.
This is probably a good time to throw in a couple of disclaimers:
We are laser vision experts, not tax advisors or certified public accountants (CPAs). As such, the information in this blog post should not be taken as tax advice. Please consult a trusted tax professional or before making any financial decisions that could impact your tax return.
The deadline to file federal taxes has been extended to at least May 17, 2021, in most states and even later in other states. Oklahoma’s federal filing deadline is extended to June 15, 2021. This extended deadline does not mean you have until then to receive LASIK and deduct the expense from your federal taxes. To be included as a medical expense on your 2020 taxes, your procedure would have had to be completed in 2020. But if you’re already looking ahead to your 2021 return, now is a great time to have LASIK!
Is LASIK a Medical Expense?
The IRS is very particular about what makes an allowable expense. When we look at the IRS definition of a medical expense, there are many areas that relate to LASIK, such as:
- The cost of a diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease for affecting any part or functions of the body.
- Payments for legal medical services surgeons.
- Costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.
- Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical disability or illness.
- Eye surgery (such as laser eye surgery or LASIK) to correct vision defects.
What You Need to Know About Claiming LASIK on Your Taxes
First, you have to itemize the expense.
To claim your LASIK procedure as a medical expense, you have to itemize (list) your medical expenses on your Schedule A (Form 1040 or 1040-SR). As well as other categories of such as:
- Charitable gifts
- Casualty and theft losses
- Taxes and interest paid
But should you itemize?
The alternative to itemizing is taking the standard expense deduction for your tax bracket. Itemizing is only worth it if your expenses add up to more than you would get for a standard deduction. If not, you’re only saving cents and it’s not worth the extra complication.
Finally, you can’t claim all your medical expenses.
Think your total expenses exceed the standard deduction? Great. But — and there’s almost always a “but” with the IRS — you can’t claim all of your medical expenses.
You’re only allowed to deduct the medical expenses that are over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Your AGI is your gross income minus any income adjustments, like student loan interest or retirement account contributions.
For instance, if your AGI was $70,000, you could only deduct medical expenses over $5250 (7.5%).
You might be able to claim related expenses, though…
If your medical expenses don’t add up to over 7.5% of your AGI, there is an IRS “but” that may help you. The IRS will allow you to claim medical-related expenses to reach the right threshold.
Acceptable medical-related expenses are travel expenses to and from your LASIK surgery such as:
- Bus or cab fares
- Price of gas if someone else drives you
- Mileage if you drive (16¢ per mile in 2021)
Life Benefits > Tax Benefits
As you can tell from the content in this blog post, claiming LASIK on your taxes can be a pretty complicated undertaking. But even if your tax situation doesn’t allow you to deduct the expense, don’t let that deter you from seriously considering the life-changing impact of laser vision correction at nJoy Vision.
Our goal is to help you see the world clearly and experience it fully without the inconvenience of glasses and contacts.
Schedule a free nJoy Vision consultation today to see if LASIK or one of our other state-of-the-art refractive surgery options is right for you. If so, we’ll do our best to help you find a discount, payment strategy, or financing option that makes this life-changing procedure as affordable as possible.