How to maximize your tax benefits from medical expenses this year


This temporarily lower threshold creates some tax-planning opportunities this year, experts say.

“If someone is close to getting the deduction or knows they’ll itemize, then if there are things you can accelerate into 2018 instead of waiting until 2019, it might make sense to do it,” said Julie Welch, a CPA who serves on the American Institute of CPAs’ personal financial planning executive committee.

For example, you could consider getting medical procedures or treatments in the next few months instead of putting them off until next year. If you do with hopes of deducting your associated costs on your 2018 return, make sure the bill is paid this year, Welch said.

Because only unreimbursed medical expenses count toward the deduction, any expenses covered by money from FSAs or health savings accounts — both of which already are tax-advantaged — is excluded. (More on health savings accounts further down.)

However, many other medical-related expenses do count, including co-pays, co-insurance, dental work, travel costs for health care and, generally speaking, insurance premiums. That includes long-term care insurance, within IRS limits.

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