As the filing deadline looms large, you may be gathering those final details, including receipts for your deductions. Did you purchase hearing aids last year? If so, you’re in luck! Hearing aids are tax deductible if you itemize your medical deductions on your federal income taxes. In fact, the savings includes hearing-related costs for you, your spouse and your dependents. As with most things related to taxes, there are some caveats. We’ve gathered some of the most relevant information for you. And if you’ve already filed, keep this in mind as you plan medical spending for 2019, so you’re ready next year.
To deduct or not to deduct – that is the first question
Not sure if you can deduct your hearing aids? To start, you must decide if you will itemize your medical expenses or not. If you don’t itemize your deductions, then you can’t take advantage of this savings. However, if you have significant medical expenses, it might be worth it for you or your family to do so this year. For spending through 2018, if you spend more than 7.5% of your income on medical expenses1, you can deduct medical costs from your insurance. Some years, itemizing may make more sense than others. If you have invested in hearing aids and had other significant medical expenses, such as a hospital stay or surgery where you paid a portion of the cost, this may be the right year to deduct these expenses. This will be changing for medical spending in 2019 as the threshold for deductions will go up to 10% of Adjusted Gross Income. Still, plan ahead, because if you plan to have a surgery that will get you to this threshold, it might be the year to invest in new hearing aids at the same time.
What can you deduct?
According to TurboTax2, the following hearing-related expenses can be deducted:
- Hearing aids, batteries, maintenance costs and repairs
- Equipment to link your phone, including phones with special ringers, captioned phones and teleprinters. If you had to pay for repairs, this is covered, too.
- Televisions and related accessories that amplify sound, provide closed captions and their repair costs
- A guide dog, including veterinary, grooming and food expenses
- Wiring your home with special smoke detectors, doorbells and burglar alarms
Keep this in mind when considering hearing aids as a tax deduction
For many of us, doing your taxes can be confusing. If you are doing your own, here are a few tips:
- When itemizing your taxes, use Form 1040 Schedule A – Itemized Deductions.3
- The IRS offers an Interactive Tax Assistant online tool to help you figure out what expenses are deductible.
- Remember to keep all of your receipts!
Of course, we are not tax experts, and highly advise you to bring specific financial questions to your tax advisor or an accountant.
Need more information on medical expenses and taxes?
You may wonder what counts as a medical expense. Another great source for information is the IRS’s information page on medical and dental expenses.3 If you have a person in your household, such as a parent or child, who purchased hearing aids last year, you can only deduct these costs if you claim this person as a dependent on your taxes – even if you paid for the hearing aids.
Already filed your taxes? No worries – there’s always next year
If you are a first-time hearing aid wearer or you are looking to upgrade, remember to save your receipts, because before you know it, you’ll need them for next year’s filing. If you know you will have significant medical expenses coming soon, this might be a good year to spring for the latest technological advances. That way, Uncle Sam can pay you back next year. For more information on the latest in high-tech hearing aids, give us a call at (208) 519-4552.
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