Can I Deduct for Therapy on My Income Taxes?

by Jonita Davis ; Updated September 11, 2015
Therapy may be a deductible medical expense on your tax return.

Therapy does fall under the category of “medical expenses” and is therefore deductible on your taxes. However, not every taxpayer is eligible to take this deduction. In addition, some forms of therapy do not qualify as a medical expense.

Medical Expense

The therapy must be performed to prevent or relieve a condition. The condition can be mental or physical. Therapy for you, your spouse and dependents is eligible for this deduction. A psychiatrist or psychologist must perform the qualifying therapy, either in an inpatient facility or as outpatient visits. A certified practitioner must perform the therapy. The person receiving the therapy must have a medical need; otherwise, the expense is not tax-deductible. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before trying to take a deduction for experimental therapies or sessions with an alternative medical practitioner like a shaman.

Other Therapies Allowed

Mental health is not the only tax-deductible therapy. Therapies to rehabilitate an injury or relieve pain, as well as occupational therapy, are also deductible. This includes massage therapy from a certified practitioner and pain management therapies for arthritis-sufferers. Rehabilitative therapy for alcohol and drug addicts is also deductible. Treatment within a facility and as an outpatient both qualify, as does acupuncture therapy.

The Deduction

You must first consider your other medical expenses and adjusted gross income before taking the deduction. You can deduct any medical expenses that surpass 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, according to Bankrate, the financial resource website. For example, you calculate that 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income is $5,000 and your medical expenses, including therapy, are $7,000. Your deduction will then be $2,000. Look at the standard deduction and compare it to your entire itemized deduction total. It the standard deduction amount is higher, use it for your taxes; you will not have to worry about a therapy medical expense deduction. You can deduct only the therapy payments made within the tax year. If you must travel for therapy, you can deduct certain travel costs like cab fare, train or plane tickets, ambulance rides or the IRS medical mileage rate for your car expenses. Also, include any parking fees and tolls. You cannot deduct meals and lodging unless you were admitted to the hospital. Only charges from the hospital are acceptable as a deduction, however.

About the Author

Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.

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