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Deducting a hot tub

 

Dear Tax Talk,
My doctor has prescribed a hot tub for my severe arthritis and fibromyalgia. How do I write it off on my taxes? Also, I will need to take a loan out to purchase the hot tub. Can I write off any of these expenses? How about the maintenance of the hot tub? Thank you. -- Dii

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Dear Dii,
Wouldn't it be wonderful to enjoy a nice whirlpool bath and know that the Internal Revenue Service helped cover the cost? Expenses for medical equipment which are necessary for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body are deductible subject to an income limitation.

Medical expenses do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation. The IRS of course dislikes the idea of allowing a deduction for items that can be considered of a personal nature. If your doctor prescribed a whirlpool and you go out and buy one built for four or eight people, the IRS will probably frown more than if you purchased a hot tub for one or two.

If you borrow to purchase the hot tub, the cost would be deductible in the year that you took out the loan. I cannot find authority that would consider the interest on the loan to be a medical expense.

The maintenance and repair of the whirlpool spa should be considered medical expenses, so long as it continues to be medically necessary. You should also ask the retailer if you can avoid sales tax on the purchase if the hot tub. These rules vary by state and are subject to providing the retailer adequate evidence of the equipment's medical necessity.

 

 
-- Posted: Oct. 13, 2004
   

 

 
 

 

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