Can I deduct medical expenses for my college kids?


Q. I pay medical expenses for my college age kids but they are not my dependents anymore. Can I deduct the costs?
— Mom

A. Everyone wants to look for ways to save on their tax bill.

But we’re afraid you’re out of luck.

Medical expenses are only deductible for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents, said Michael Karu, a certified public accountant with Levine, Jacobs & Co. in Livingston.

“If your children are no longer dependents, then any related medical expenses, child tax credits, etc. are no longer allowed,” Karu said.

But you may have other items you can deduct.

Both the IRS and New Jersey allow the same medical expenses to be deducted, he said.

The big difference is the floor.

“The federal floor is 7½% of your adjusted gross income, while New Jersey only has a 2% floor,” Karu said.

Note that the federal deduction gets combined with other itemized deductions, while the New Jersey deduction is a stand-alone line item, he said.

“The definition of medical expenses is the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and for the purpose of affecting any part or function of the body,” he said. “Included are payments for medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical providers.”

The cost of medical equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for those purposes are also included, he said.

Medical insurance and long-term care insurance also are allowed, but there are annual limitations on long-term care premiums, he said.

To see a full list of what can be deducted, take a look at IRS Publication 502. 

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This story was originally published on March 6, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.