March 29, 2022
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), LASIK is a form of laser vision correction procedure approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The procedure uses a laser to reshape the cornea and improve the way light rays are focused onto the retina.
Individuals opting for LASIK or laser eye surgery to replace corrective lenses and glasses often have many questions regarding the procedure. And one of the most frequently asked questions is: “Is LASIK surgery tax-deductible?”
Despite being a medical procedure, most insurance companies do not cover LASIK as it’s considered an elective procedure similar to cosmetic surgery. Hence, most people resort to flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA) to help cover the procedure’s cost. But did you know that there is another option available to you to help you save money on LASIK: tax deductions.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the amount paid for eye surgeries to correct defective vision, such as LASIK or radial keratotomy, can be included in medical expenses and deducted from taxes. However, the total medical expenses for the year have to meet a certain threshold for you to be eligible for this option, and you must also itemize your medical expense deduction.
The Internal Revenue Service defines medical expenses as the costs of diagnosis, mitigation, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease and the costs of treatments affecting any function or part of the body. These may include payments for the medical services offered by surgeons, physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals and the costs of equipment, diagnostic devices, and supplies needed for these medical purposes.
To claim LASIK as a tax deduction, you will have to itemize your deductions on your tax return. This implies that you may not be able to claim the standard deduction for your filing status. Instead, you may have to sum up all the payments made towards medical expenses for you and your dependents over the year. Then, add them to all other expenses you paid that qualify as tax-deductible, including charitable donations and mortgage interest. You must then enter the entire cost on Schedule A, which must be attached to your tax return.
Ultimately, you may want to talk to your tax preparer or a tax professional to decide if claiming laser vision correction as a medical expense is sensible for your situation. Generally, itemizing makes sense only if the total amount of your itemized deduction is greater than the standard deduction for your filing status. This is because you may only receive an extra tax break if your itemized deduction is greater than your standard deduction.
It’s important to note that you may not be able to claim all of your medical expenses itemized on your tax return. You can only deduct your medical and dental expenses if the amount is more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, if your AGI is $65,000, you can only deduct medical expenses that exceed $4,875. Hence, if your total medical expense for the year is $7,000, you can only claim a deduction of $2,125 with an AGI of $65,000.
However, as the Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct various other medical care expenses in addition to the actual cost of the refractive procedure, you may be able to surpass the 7.5% threshold and claim part of the eye surgery cost. The 7.5% threshold was 10% before but was lowered with the legislative changes at the end of 2019.
Some of the medical care associated deductible costs include:
Writing-off LASIK on your taxes can be a great idea, as it reduces the taxable income and saves you money. However, your total out-of-pocket costs for the surgery and other medical care expenses for the year should exceed the standard deduction to make claiming them worth it. As of 2021, the standard deduction for single filers and married filing separately is $12,550, while the standard deduction for joint filers and the head of household is $25,100 and $18,800, respectively.
In addition to tax deductions, there are several other ways to cover the cost of laser eye surgery or even bladeless LASIK and make it affordable to move forward with the procedure. Some of these financial options are:
Although most health insurance policies do not cover LASIK claiming it to be cosmetic surgery and an elective procedure, the IRS considers this refractive procedure a tax-deductible medical expense, allowing it to be written-off as health expenses in taxes. Hence, choose a good tax advisor or tax software to guide you and help you take advantage of every deductible cost available to you.
Here at OOMC, our patient’s well-being is our priority. Our dedicated team of surgeons and staff always makes an effort to create a safe and secure environment where you can easily access care comfortably and confidently.
Contact one of our centers nearest to you for further information.
Corneal Associates of New Jersey
Kremer Eye Center
Ludwick Eye Center
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