Can I deduct my home gym?

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Q. I have an injury. I could have surgery, but I’d rather just do physical therapy. If I don’t do surgery, and if I set up a home gym, would that be considered a deductible medical expense?
— Road to recovery

A. Maybe.

The IRS defines medical expenses as payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.

Sometimes, exercise equipment can qualify as a valid medical expense, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.

But you have to take it further.

“You would have to have a doctor advise you that it’s necessary,” Fusillo said. “Assuming you did get doctor’s orders, you would then have valid substantiation to purchase a piece of equipment and deduct the cost as a medical expense.”

Note that a piece of exercise equipment you already owned prior to your injury would not qualify, she said.

Fusillo said to take advantage of the deduction, you must itemize on Schedule A of your income tax return. Medical expenses are deductible after they exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, or 7.5 percent if you or your spouse are over age 65.

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