Tax Returns Are Due Today, But Can I Write Off My Plastic Surgery?

Chako S. on 14 Apr 2014 at 10:50pm

Are you down to the wire and wondering if there’s anything additional you can write-off to maximize your tax refund? Well, don’t discount any plastic surgeries you might have had this year just yet. You may be able to deduct them if they fall under certain stipulations.

The somewhat disappointing answer to this question is kept short and sweet by Bonnie Lee on, “Generally, cosmetic surgery is not deductible.” And her answer is backed up by the IRS: “You may not deduct funeral or burial expenses, over-the-counter medicines, toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, a trip or program for the general improvement of your health, or most cosmetic surgery.” There is a silver lining here, though! Note that it does not state all cosmetic surgery.

If your surgery was done for aesthetic reasons only, then sorry, you won’t be able to write it off. If your physician deemed the procedure a medical necessity, then it could qualify as a medical deduction.The best way to determine if your procedure falls under the “medical necessity” category is to check with your insurance (As an example, here’s Aetna’s page).

The onus is on you to know which tax deductions are available, so do your research and dig up all your documentation! You can read up on IRS’s medical and dental expense policies here. Also, reminds us that “[all] medical expenses, including any allowable plastic surgeries, must come to more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income before you can claim them.”

Not to confuse the situation, but there is the infamous case of one “Chesty Love,” a Las Vegas stripper who, in order to generate more business, was urged by her agent to have her breasts augmented not once but twice: first to a 56FF and then to a 56N. Her bigger breasts generated more attention, bigger earnings (almost double!), and a whole lot of psychological and physical pain. Four years after she filed, a judge deemed her implants a deductible business expense and compared them to work clothes, which determined as being “required as a condition of employment” and “unsuitable for everyday use.”

Got any additional insights on writing off plastic surgery? We'd love to hear your tips and stories in the comments section below!

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