Did you know that your stairlift may be tax deductible? In fact, according to the United States Tax Code, certain medical expenses can be deducted from your income taxes.
Staying in the home you love, or helping a loved one age in place, might not always be an easy process. Living safely and independently in your own home could mean several additional costs. Fortunately, you may be able to get back some of what you spend by deducting those expenses from your taxes. In order to do this, it’s important you know what kind of home improvements and medical expenses are tax deductible and how a stairlift may fit into the picture.
Are my medical expenses and home improvements tax deductible?
Among the different tax deductible medical expenses are expenses for durable medical equipment. DME (or durable medical equipment) is considered a specific type of medical equipment that your doctor would prescribe to prevent or diminish the consequences of a physical or mental disability or illness and ultimately improve your everyday life. As such, a qualified medical deduction would include, for example, walkers and wheelchairs, but unfortunately, not stairlifts.
Stairlifts fall under a different category known as “capital expenses”. Here, you may be able to include medical expenses associated with paying for special equipment that you need to have installed in your own home, or home modifications that are considered to be medically necessary for you, your spouse or dependent.
However, the costs of paying for special equipment or home improvements made for personal reasons are not tax deductible. For this type of expense to be tax deductible, its main purpose must be to ease or prevent a physical or mental disability or illness from drastically changing your life.
Can a stairlift be considered medically necessary?
The short answer is it may be, if it’s considered a home improvement made for medical reasons. In order for your stairlift to be considered tax deductible it needs to be medically necessary and, therefore, be prescribed by a doctor. Once again, it’s important to keep in mind that a home improvement such as a stairlift must be made for health reasons and to ultimately improve the life of someone with a disability or illness, otherwise it won’t be tax deductible. The same logic applies to the costs of operating and maintaining such improvements, that is, these expenses may be considered tax deductible, but only if the main reason for them is a medical necessity.
How can I make sure I get a tax deduction on my stairlift?
The first thing to think about is how you fill in these medical expenses when you’re actually filing your taxes. It might be worth getting help from a professional, to make sure you’re getting as much deducted as you’re entitled to.
For 2018, taxpayers can list out all of their qualified medical expenses as long they exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). In 2019, medical charges will have to be over 10% to be deductible.
If you’ve come across the term “itemized deductions” while researching this topic and you’re wondering what it is, we can help you out. In the U.S., certain personal expenses that taxpayers can deduct from their total taxable income are known as itemized deductions and, usually, when filing your taxes, you can choose between standard deduction and itemized deductions. Make sure you put your stairlift down as an “itemized deduction” so that you get all the benefits you’re entitled to.
How you can stay in the home you love
Deciding to stay in the home you love may not always be an easy decision. Perhaps going up and down the stairs has become a problem and a fear of falling is starting to weigh down on you. You may even be wondering if it would just be easier to move house. But if you really think about the hassle of having to pack up all your cherished belongings, along with the emotional toll of leaving behind a place full of memories, it might be worth finding out what you can do to stay in the home you love.
That’s why at Stannah, we think about every little thing we can to help you live safely and independently. Deducting your home improvements when filing your taxes, for example, may help you get back part of the investment you made on a stairlift.
If you want to find out more about how we can help you stay in the home you love, call us today. Our experienced advisors are happy to answer all of your questions and help you in any way they can.
Nate joined Stannah in March of 2014 and works as a writer and copy editor for the content team. Prior to that, he worked closely with seniors as a case manager in the homecare industry. Nate has since completed CAPS training, making him a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. With a strong belief in aging in place and safe living solutions for seniors, Nate enjoys reading and writing about topics that matter most to the elder community.