The IRS announced today that new parents can write off breast pumps (or buy them with pre-tax flexible spending accounts), now that it officially considers them a “medical expense.” As long as you spend at least 7.5% of your total annual income on medical expenses, items like breast pumps and prescription drugs are tax deductible (many new families spend at least that much in their first year of parenthood). With most new moms spending around $300 on breast feeding equipment — making breast feeding cost prohibitive for some — the policy change is a significant coup for families.
Not a new Mom? You may not care about breast pumps, but you might benefit from checking out the IRS’s list of tax deductible expenses. We did, and we found five common health-related habits that you probably didn’t know you could write off:
1. Quitting Smoking — The IRS considers smoking cessation programs a medical expense, which means that the hypnotherapy, group quitting group, or therapist sessions you use to kick the habit can be a write off. (Just remember the 7.5% rule; you have to
2. Weight Loss —You can’t deduct your gym fees or diet microwave dinners, but if your physician diagnoses you with specific diseases whose treatments include weight loss, you can write off the cost of participating in programs like Weight Watchers.
3. Self Improvement — Psychotherapy and psychiatry are part of your tax deductible journey to a better you, my friend. And given how much it costs to spend on all that time on the couch, your therapy alone may just constitute the required 7.5% of your income.
4. Improving Your Job Skills — Unfortunately, you can’t write off your pilates classes, but if you’ve taken any educational courses that improve job skills related to your current position, you can probably write them off. (Perhaps your company has a branch in Paris that would benefit from your foreign language abilities, madame?)
5. A New Pair of Shades — If you’ve racked up a hefty health bill this year, you may want to tack on a pair of prescription glasses; they count as a medical expense, too.