Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2007-50
December 10, 2007
Table of Contents
Diagnostic medical procedures. This ruling holds that amounts paid by individuals for certain diagnostic and similar procedures and devices are medical care expenses deductible under section 213 of the Code.
Are amounts paid by individuals for diagnostic and certain similar procedures and devices, not compensated by insurance or otherwise, medical care expenses deductible under § 213(a) of the Internal Revenue Code?
In the situations described below, the costs paid by the taxpayers are not compensated by insurance or otherwise, and the taxpayers are not experiencing any symptoms of illness.
Taxpayer A undergoes an annual physical examination, which is performed by a physician. A pays for the physician’s services and laboratory tests.
Taxpayer B pays for a full-body electronic scan, a relatively high-cost procedure, performed by a technician at a clinic. The scan examines the condition of B’s internal organs and may identify disease or other abnormalities. B has not consulted a physician before undergoing the procedure, which can be obtained without a physician’s direction, or determined if less expensive alternatives are available.
Section 213(a) allows a deduction for expenses paid during the taxable year, not compensated for by insurance or otherwise, for medical care of the taxpayer, spouse, or dependent, to the extent that the expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. Medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body. Section 213(d)(1)(A).
Medical care includes X-rays and laboratory and other diagnostic services. Amounts paid for obstetrical services are deemed to be for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body and therefore are paid for medical care. Section 1.213-1(e)(1)(ii) of the Income Tax Regulations.
“Diagnosis” is the determination of a medical condition, such as a disease, by physical examination or study of symptoms. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed., 2004). A diagnosis may encompass a determination that disease is absent. The determination of a medical condition may include testing for changes in the functions of the body, such as those resulting from pregnancy, that are unrelated to disease.
In determining whether an expense is for either medical or personal reasons, the recommendation of a physician is important. Havey v. Commissioner, 12 T.C. 409, 412 (1949). However, this determination is unnecessary in the case of expenses for items that are wholly medical in nature and serve no other function in everyday life. Stringham v. Commissioner, 12 T.C. 580, 584 (court reviewed), aff’d 183 F.2d 579 (6th Cir. 1950).
The amount of the deduction under § 213 is not limited by a ceiling and, although additional costs for personal convenience are not allowable, § 213 does not limit the deduction to amounts paid for the least expensive form of medical care available. Ferris v. Commissioner, 582 F.2d 1112, 1116 (7th Cir. 1978).
In Situation 1, the amount A pays for the annual physical examination is for diagnosis and qualifies as an expense for medical care even though A is not experiencing any symptoms of illness.
In Situation 2, the amount B pays for the full-body scan is for diagnosis and qualifies as an expense for medical care even though B is not experiencing symptoms of illness and has not obtained a physician’s recommendation before undergoing the procedure. The procedure serves no non-medical function and the expense is not disallowed because of the high cost or possible existence of less expensive alternatives.
In Situation 3, the amount C pays for the pregnancy test qualifies as an expense for medical care even though its purpose is to test the healthy functioning of the body rather than to detect disease.
Therefore, the amounts paid by Taxpayers A, B, and C for the physical examination, the full-body scan, and the pregnancy test kit are deductible under § 213(a), subject to the 7.5 percent floor.
Amounts paid by individuals for diagnostic and certain similar procedures and devices, not compensated by insurance or otherwise, are medical care expenses deductible under § 213(a), subject to the limitations of that section.
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