Tax Tip: Deducting Medical Travel

Tax Tip: Deducting Medical Travel

Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2013 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — One medical deduction that is often overlooked is the cost of traveling to and from doctors, dentists, therapists, hospitals, clinics and the like to get medical care. Your insurance company may cover the cost of the actual medical care, but it rarely if ever reimburses you for your transportation.

If you take a taxi, bus, train, airplane or ambulance you can deduct the actual expense. If you drive you can deduct 23 cents per mile in lieu of gas and oil, plus any parking fees and tolls.

You can also deduct round-trip travel to visit a sick spouse or dependent if the visits are recommended by a doctor as part of the patient’s treatment.

Keep a log of your medical travel during the year. This can be as simple as making a note of the location, round-trip miles and parking and tolls for each trip in a pocket datebook.

The cost of lodging while away from home primarily for and essential to medical care by a doctor at a licensed hospital or similar facility is also deductible — up to a maximum of $50 per night. Meals while away from home overnight for medical care are not deductible. You can deduct the cost of the hotel room, but not the dinner bill.