Tax Tip #5: Get any elective medical or dental work done in 2013
Medical expenses not covered by your health insurance are deductible in 2013 if they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. And if you’re 65 or older, you benefit from a lower threshold of 7.5% of adjusted gross income.
If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy or somehow managed to find yourself uninsured in 2013, it can be remarkably easy to hit those levels. Ten percent of an AGI of $75,000 would mean that you need only $7,500 in medical expenses to take this deduction, and plenty of Americans spend more than that in a given year. Keep good records of all of your medical expenses — everything from doctor visit copays to prescription drug refills — and popular tax programs like Turbo Tax and TaxAct can calculate
It absolutely never makes sense to get unnecessary medical work done to get a tax break. But if you’ve been putting off an elective surgery or even needed dental work, you might as well do it now if doing so will get you over the deduction threshold.
Want an extreme example? I write this tongue-in-cheek, but I’ve seen people do more drastic things for a tax break:
If you are an expecting mother and have a scheduled caesarian delivery planned for the first two weeks of January, ask your doctor if moving the delivery into 2013 is a possibility. You have 18 years of living expenses to pay before you send junior to college. You might as well get the medical deduction this year, as well as an extra year of the child tax credit and the $3,900 dependent exemption for 2013.