Disabilities and health issues such as visual impairment can force people to spend money on special equipment and services to do their jobs and live life as normally as possible. While such expenses can put those with medical issues at a financial disadvantage compared with healthy workers, the Internal Revenue Service offers special tax deductions for people with vision problems. The deductions you qualify for depend on the extent of your impairment and your health-related expenses.
Standard and Itemized Deductions
The standard deduction is a fixed amount that the IRS lets you subtract from your taxable income right off the bat if you choose not to claim your itemized tax deductions. Itemized deductions include property taxes, mortgage interest, medical and dental expenses, and work-related expenses among other items. The basic standard deduction is $6,100 for single filers and $12,200 for joint filers in 2013. Blind taxpayers get an additional standard deduction of $1,200-$1,500, depending on whether you're unmarried or a surviving spouse. You need a certified statement from an eye doctor verifying that you cannot see better than 20/200 in your better eye with correction or that your field of vision is 20 degrees or less to qualify for the additional deduction, unless you are totally blind.
Expenses you pay so that you can do or keep your job that are not reimbursed to you by your company are often deductible as itemized deductions. If you have a physical or mental disability that limits your ability to perform manual tasks or work, you can deduct impairment-related expenses you pay to assist you with working. For instance, if you have to pay someone else to read documents and emails to you due to visual impairment, you can deduct the cost of the reader's services.
You can deduct many medical expenses on your tax return even if you don't have any significant health problems. According to the IRS, medical and dental expenses such as insurance costs and fees paid to doctors, physicians and surgeons count as an itemized deduction. Deductible expenses include eye exams, eye surgery, corrective glasses and contact lenses. The deduction is limited to the amount by which your qualifying expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income in 2012 and 10 percent of your income in 2013.
The cost of keeping a pet isn't normally tax deductible, but you can include the cost of a service animal in your deductible medical expenses. For instance, the cost of buying, training, feeding and caring for a guide dog is deductible.
- Internal Revenue Service: Rev. Proc. 2013-15
- Internal Revenue Service: Publication 529 -- Main Content
- Internal Revenue Service: Topic 502 -- Medical and Dental Expenses
- Internal Revenue Service: Publication 502 -- Main Content
- H&R Block: Medical and Dental Expenses
- Internal Revenue Service: Publication 501 -- Main Content
Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.