Deducting Addiction: Writing Off Medical Expenses on Tax Day

Published on April 9, 2014
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Alcoholism and substance abuse treatment can be included in itemized deductions

It’s tax time. As Americans scramble to find their calculators and receipts from 2013, Mountainside Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center reminds former clients and others suffering with addiction that their alcohol and substance abuse treatments are on the Internal Revenue Service’s list of qualified medical expenses.

“As our patients regain their health, they’re more interested in moving forward than looking back,” said a Mountainside spokesperson. “However, they should take the time to reflect on their successful healing and recoup some of the financial investment in their recovery.”

According to the IRS, deductible drug and alcohol addiction treatment expenses include:

  • The costs of diagnosis
  • Inpatient treatment at a therapeutic center for drug or alcohol addiction, including meals and lodging costs
  • Payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners
  • The costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes
  • Transportation to and from local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings pursuant to medical advice

To claim these medical expenses, filers will need to itemize their deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).  Medical and dental expenses need to add up to more than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.  The IRS recognizes self-pay drug or alcohol treatment expenses only—not those paid by insurance companies or other third-party sources, regardless of whether payments were made directly to the patient for payment of a treatment provider.

Parents who have assumed the financial costs for their child’s addiction treatment should also note that they can recoup a portion of their expenses as long as the IRS recognizes that child as a dependent. In fact, the IRS allows a wide range of options for qualifying relatives, like grandchildren, aunts, and in-laws. Families that have paid for a loved one’s treatment should certainly look into the opportunity to deduct.

“At Mountainside, we believe it is critical to support not only our clients but their families as well. We encourage families to take advantage of these deductions that can help benefit their financial health,” said a Mountainside spokesperson.  The April 15th deadline for filing is right around the corner, but there’s still time to include these deductions.