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Covid-Related Medical Expenses

Level 15

I think I asked this back in March, and people didn't take it seriously.  A client writes, 

"One quick question, are Covid related expenses (masks, face shields, gloves, sanitizers, etc.) deductible?"

With other deductible medical expenses he's already over the 7.5% limit. 

(BTW, has anyone ever had a client with a question that's not "quick"?)

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5 Comments 5
Level 15

The left side of my brain says no, but the right side of my brain keeps hollering CAGMC ------------- how many dollars can they have built up in a year?

Slava Ukraini!
Level 15

I find it telling that Congress deliberately inserted Sec. 275 into the COVID-related Tax Relief Act, which states the following, in relation to educator expenses but kept silent on IRC §213.

Not later than February 28, 2021, the Secretary of the Treasury (or the Secretary’s delegate) shall by regulation or other guidance clarify that personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID–19 are treated as described in section 62(a)(2)(D)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Such regulations or other guidance shall apply to expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020.

Since many educators already maxed out on the deduction in normal years, this change probably won't create any real tax benefit to them.

@BobKammanprobably knows more about the reality on the ground as I remember his daughter is a teacher.

Still an AllStar
Level 15


I had forgotten about that arcane provision of the CARES Act, but "prevention of the spread of Covid-19" sounds like a medical expense.  On the other hand (sanitizer), maybe it's just to keep the kids healthy and not the teacher.  (Meanwhile, I usually get into at least one argument a year about whether expenses above the $250 limit for classroom supplies, when paid by teachers in government or nonprofit schools, is an out-of-pocket charitable contribution.)  

My daughter has moved into the dreaded occupation of school administration.   She works from home for the county-wide system of a dozen or so districts, while also working from home on her Ph.D.  My grandsons' classrooms have also been closed most, if not all of the year.  They know more about using Zoom, than I do.  

Level 15

Amounts Paid for Certain Personal Protective Equipment Treated as Medical Expenses

IRS Announcement 2021-7

This announcement notifies taxpayers that amounts paid for personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 PPE) are treated as amounts paid for medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Therefore, amounts paid by an individual taxpayer for COVID-19 PPE for use by the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or the taxpayer’s dependent(s) that are not compensated for by insurance or otherwise are deductible under § 213(a) provided that the taxpayer’s total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.

Level 15

This one includes how you can pay for them:

IR-2021-66, March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2021-7 PDF today clarifying that the purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.

The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).

For more information on determining what is deductible, see Can I Deduct My Medical and Dental Expenses? and Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

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