Tax Deductions for the Blind

Tax Deductions for the Blind
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United States taxpayers who are legally blind may qualify for certain tax deductions. These deductions can substantially lower your taxable income and, thus, the amount of tax you will owe. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to fill out specific paperwork and attach it to your tax form for each deduction you claim.

Standard Deduction

If you are legally blind, you may qualify for a higher standard deduction. In 2009 the standard deduction for single taxpayers was $5,700. Legally blind single taxpayers could add $1,400 to that amount, for a total deduction of $7,100.

Work Expenses

If your blindness affects your employment, you may be able to get a tax deduction for business expenses that help you do your job. The expenses must be for goods or services that you do not use extensively outside the workplace. Claiming such expenses would require you to itemize your deductions, which means you would not get the standard deduction. This would not benefit you unless your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction.

Medical Expenses

You can claim deductions for all medical expenses, including any that relate to your blindness. The costs of visual aids, Braille books, a guide dog, long-term care insurance premiums and home improvements that serve a medical purpose fall into this category. Only the amount of medical expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income is deductible. As with work-related expenses, you need to determine whether itemizing your deductions is more advantageous than taking the standard deduction.

Spouses and Dependents

If you have a legally blind spouse or child, you can itemize the same deductions as you would if you were blind. Additionally, you have the right to deduct dependent care benefits from your income. Dependent care benefits are payments your employer made under a qualified plan specifically for the care of your disabled spouse or child while you work. These payments should appear in box 10 of your W-2 form. In 2009 this deduction could not exceed $5,000.