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You Got This Weekly Series: Can I Write-Off Dental Payments?

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Each week we will answer one of the most frequently asked questions on Facebook, Twitter and TaxACT’s Blog in the “You Got This” Weekly Series.


Can I use dental payments as a tax write-off and how much would I have to pay in for this to make a difference?

Susie via Facebook


In addition to other medical expenses, dental expenses can be claimed as an itemized deduction.

Other medical expenses include the costs of clinic and hospital visits, prescription drugs, and health insurance premiums.

There are two hurdles you need to overcome in order for these expenses to make a difference on your return.

First, the total expenses must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) (or 7.5% if you or your spouse is 65 or older).

Let’s assume you’re married, filing a joint return, and neither spouse is age 65 or older. If you have $5,000 of medical and dental expenses and your AGI is $40,000, you will be allowed to claim $1,000 of your medical and dental expenses as an itemized deduction. (TaxACT will figure the total for you.)

Second, you need to compare the total of the allowable medical and dental expenses plus your other allowable itemized deductions to your standard deduction.

The standard deduction amount for each filing status for 2013 tax returns is:

  • Single or married filing separately – $6,100
  • Head of household – $8,950
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) – $12,200

Generally, you’ll want to claim whichever deduction amount is higher. In other words, claiming your dental expenses is most beneficial if the total of your itemized deductions exceeds your standard deduction.

Using the earlier example, let’s say your $1,000 of allowable medical and dental expenses plus your other itemized deductions total $13,000.

Since $13,000 is more than the $12,200 standard deduction allowed on joint returns, you will benefit from itemizing deductions.

For more “You Got This” Weekly Series questions click here.

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