Your Guide to Deducting Pregnancy Medical Expenses

    

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Having a baby is a fairly expensive endeavor in the U.S. and most of these costs begin during the pregnancy. According to the tax code, some pregnancy-related child expenses are tax deductible but others are not. Learning which maternity expenses you can deduct can help you keep good records throughout your pregnancy. 

Deductible Pregnancy Expenses

As a general rule, medically necessary expenses related to your pregnancy are always deductible. The key is that you must pay for these costs out of your own pocket. If your insurance plan covers the cost of these expenses, you cannot deduct them. If your insurance plan covers most of the expenses, you can only deduct the amount you personally have to pay.

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Approved pregnancy medical expenses include the costs of medical visits, childbirth classes, ambulance transportation, prescription medication, labor and delivery charges, hospital stays, medical tests, and postpartum visits. You may also be able to deduct the cost of your breast pump. Ultrasounds are deductible, as long as they are prescribed by your doctor. Novelty 3D ultrasounds that you choose to have done are not tax-deductible.

Non-Deductible Pregnancy Expenses

While there are several pregnancy-related expenses that you can deduct on your taxes, there are some costs that the IRS does not allow you to claim. These expenses may be necessary as your pregnancy progresses, but they are not considered to be legitimate standardized tax deductions.

Maternity clothes are a must-have for most mothers-to-be. According to the IRS, though, they are not deductible. The only possible exception to this rule is if your employer requires you to purchase your own uniforms for work. If you have to buy new uniforms to accommodate your maternity sizing, then this expense may be deductible if your employer does not reimburse you.

The cost of hiring a mother's helper is also not usually a deductible expense. It's true that you can deduct the cost of qualified child care on your taxes, but this provision only applies to child care that is provided so that you can either work or search for work. An exception to this rule may be available if your doctor orders you to hire a mother's helper, due to medical bed rest or recovery.

How to Deduct Pregnancy Expenses

To deduct pregnancy expenses, you'll have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A. All medical expenses are deducted in the top section of the form and they are subject to an annual limit of 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). What this means is that you can only deduct the medical expenses you paid that exceed an amount equal to 7.5 percent of your AGI.

As an example, if your AGI is $15,000, then your medical expense threshold is $1125 (15000 x 7.5%). If you paid a total of $2500 in qualified medical expenses, you can only deduct $1375 on your return that year (2500 - 1125).

Having a baby is a momentous life event, but it can be expensive. If you take advantage of the various tax breaks for pregnancy costs, you can ease the financial strain at tax time and avoid asset seizure and other tax consequences.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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