Deductible medical expenses

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It is estimated that families of children with cancer spend 25 percent or more of their income on items not covered by insurance. Examples of these expenses are gas, car repairs, motels, food away from home, health insurance deductibles, prescriptions, and dental work. Many of these items can be deducted on federal income tax. Often parents are too fatigued to go through stacks of bills at the end of the year to calculate their deductions. If a monthly total is kept in a notebook, then all that needs to be done at tax time is adding up the monthly totals.

Medical expenses that could be deducted for 2001 were: acupuncture, ambulance, artificial limb, artificial teeth, expenses to modify your home to provide medical care for your child, chiropractor, crutches, dental treatment, HMO fees, hearing aids, hospital services, insurance premiums, laboratory fees, special school or tutor for child with learning disabilities, lodging costs for family when child is hospitalized, meals at hospital, physicians services, medicines, nursing care, operations, osteopath, oxygen, psychiatric care, psychological care, therapy, transplants, transportation to obtain medical care, trips for medical care, wheelchair, and x-rays.

To find out what can be deducted legally for the years your child is undergoing treatment, get IRS Publication 502. This booklet is available at libraries and IRS offices or by calling (800) 829-3676 (8OO-TAX-FORM) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. You can also download this publication from the Internal Revenue Service web site at http://www.irs.gov.

Canadian families are able to deduct many of the same medical expenses as can families living in the US. To find out what can be legally deducted in Canada for the years your child is undergoing cancer treatment, contact Revenue Canada and ask for IT-519R2—Medical Expense and Disability Tax Credits.

If you keep a calendar, an easy way to keep track of tax-deductible items is to glue an envelope to the inside cover. Whenever you incur an expense that is tax deductible, put the receipt in the envelope, and file it when you get home.

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