Throughout your career, you paid income taxes through payroll deductions and filed your return with the IRS each spring. Now that you’re retired, you will most likely still pay some income taxes, although your taxable income might change to some degree. On top of that, your available deductions and credits might be different at this stage of your life.
Certain medical expenses are deductible for everyone, but these become more important in retirement for two reasons: First, as we age, most of us experience more medical problems (and therefore higher costs). Second, there is one very important change in medical expense deductions, that will impact you as you transition into retirement:
You cannot deduct your premiums for healthcare plans paid with pre-tax dollars, such as your group health insurance plan offered through work. However, you typically can deduct Medicare premiums once you’ve turned 65 and transitioned over to Medicare. (Consult with your tax professional.)
Specifically, the IRS allows for the following deductions as a medical expense:
- Premiums for Medicare Part A, B, D, and private Medicare plans
- Premiums for Medigap supplemental insurance
- Deductibles and co-pays for Medicare Part A, B, or D services
- Out of pocket prescription drug costs
- Out of pocket expenses for non-covered services or equipment, such as glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, dental visits, and nursing home fees
- Premiums for long-term care insurance
- The cost of medically necessary modifications to your home
- Transportation expenses related to receiving medical care
That’s all great news for retirees, who are more likely to encounter rising healthcare costs over the years. However, the IRS does impose some rules on the deduction of medical expenses, so you should be careful when you file your tax return.
Please note: This this article is a general guide to what might be tax-deductible, check with your tax professional before itemizing any of these expenses on your return.