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Tax Information
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14 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,

I hope you all are having a good New Year! I just wanted to see if anyone on the board claims their gluten-free food purchases on their tax returns. I KNOW that it is hard and time consuming, I've heard some people say they don't think it is worth it, but on our low income, it will be to us, so only helpful replies please. I have seen someone put out a 'sample' chart of how they listed the amount of each gluten-free item purchased for the year, and then had a comparison with the 'normal' un-gluten-free food next to it to show the cost differnce. If anyone can point me in the right direction so I could see this chart or sample again, I would really appreciate it! Thanks for all your help in advance!!

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On http://www.celiac.org, I remember seeing a sample table for doing th tax returns, but I looked for this a couple months ago and couldn't find it. You might try e-mailing them, cause they had one, but then it seemed to vanish...maybe they could link you.

I think that it is more worth it for low-income families, anyway. I don't know the procedure exactly, but I think the difference has to be sufficient so that it amounts to a certain percentage of your income or something. Good luck...sorry I don't have too much info. :(

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I don't have a table, so amd just commenting on the percentage. Deducting the additional cost of gluten-free foods (so the price increase to buy gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta, for instance) is - from what I've read - an option IF you are already deducting medical expenses. You can only deduct medical expenses if they sum up to, I believe, at least 7% of your gross income. (So, if your AGI is $20,000 in a year, you would have to have $1,400 in medical expenses to claim medical deductions.) They do suggest that you keep METICULOUS records for a number of years, as rumor has it that deductions for gluten-free foods is a trigger for audits. (So it's worth considering if the cost savings on not getting taxed on those medical expenses is worth the time cost and stress cost of a potential audit.)

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I have what most folks would consider catastrophic medical expenses almost every year so it is worth my while to take this stuff off my taxes. We are also on a very tight budget with three kids on a disability income.

What I have found works best for me is to keep a special page in my commercial guide (or other notebook you carry with you to shop). When I pick up an item such as gluten-free waffles at the grocery store, I send one of the kids to get a price on the store brand I would otherwise have purchased. I jot down in the notebook the price and the weight or number of items for the package. I do the same for the gluten-free product since it is often easier to calculate a "per item" price and compare apples to apples that way. The gluten-free items often come in smaller packages yet cost more money. I mark each appropriate item on the register receipt with an "m" so that I can see it quickly when I sit down to calculate. Since I generally shop at only two stores, this does not have to be done very often. I have the calculations already done for the year and I just recheck periodically to be sure nothing has changed significantly.

By the way, don't forget stuff like the more expensive ice creams and such. The difference in the cost for these can be used as well as long as it is due to the medical necessity. Oh yes, and the advice I read on several sites said to be sure and have a letter from your physician on file in case you are audited. I make a note on the tax return that the letter is on file for review.

I used to keep a spreadsheet in Excel or Works, but now I have a separate catagory called FOOD/GROCERIES gluten-free in Microsoft Money. I do a quick calculation and split the total when I enter the expense into the system and have the gluten-free subcategory set to feed into the appropriate 1040 line item.

Hope this helps. It can be a pain to get started, but is not too difficult after you get it set up.

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I saw a post on tax information at Delphi Forums under the general discussion. Unfortunately, I couldn't make a link to it here, because when I copied the url into my browser, it just takes me to a general section, but not to the post I wanted to copy to you. Anyway, the celiac board is at http://forums.delphiforums.com/celiac/start and the topic is under general discussion.

-celiac3270

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I'm not sure how to say this politely, but ice cream is NOT a medical necessity. Please explain to me why any of us needs ice cream to stay alive. In fact, please explain why we need gluten-free bread, cookies, cake, pie, bagels, doughnuts, cereal, etc. to survive.

Even if ice cream were a medical necessity, virtually ALL ice cream out there is gluten-free (including most all of the very cheap stuff), so I can't see how ice cream could be claimed. The least expensive ice cream on the market is almost certainly gluten-free.

richard

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Um... I think ice cream is a medical necessity... as are chocolate and martinis and french fries. In fact, I think Haagan Daaz Swiss Vanilla with Almonds ice cream is essential to my health!!

(just kidding)

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I think that keeping our emotional and mental self healthy is just as important as our physical health. Like it or not, our whole social world is wrapped around food and quite often special desserts. Whether it be weddings, birthdays, Christmas, or even funerals, food is top and formost. Therefore, I do think that ice cream and any other dessert is a medical neccessity, within reason. :rolleyes:

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OK, even if I grant that ice cream is a medical necessity (although I very much doubt the IRS would see it that way; you'd better have a darn good tax attorney), even the cheapest ice cream is almost without exception gluten-free. It would be very hard to argue you have to have the most expensive ice cream for your mental health.

Basically, you're arguing that other taxpayers should subsidize your purchase of the most expensive ice cream because you have celiac disease. I don't think so.

richard

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Actually, I agree with you that the cheapest ice cream is certainly suitable, and I do not claim ice cream at all. However, I do claim the bread, and donuts etc. that are very expensive.

I was merely pointing out that this is a food oriented world and in order to survive in it mentally, as well as physically, is to give in and find goodies that make us fit in. Not to mention enjoy them when we can :lol:

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Just to add a bit on the same topic. I also claim the very expensive pretzels and rice chips. I do an awful lot with the kennel club and I can't just run to the consession stand. So I usually just do pretzels or chips with cheese. It's quick and portable.

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I'm honestly not criticizing your claims or choices so please don't take it that way. I am passing along some concerns I've heard over the years.

If you were ever audited you would almost certainly have to defend some of your choices. For instance, why the expensive pretzels instead of some regular snack that's gluten-free? Why expensive rice chips instead of, for instance, Utz tortilla chips? Or Fritos, which are made on a dedicated line? Or why not Blue Diamond Nut Thins, which cost about the same as crackers that aren't gluten-free?

I realize that part of the answer might be that you like these other things better or they might even be more healthful. But there's considerable doubt the IRS will see that as a legitimate reason to claim them.

If it were me, I'd ask a professional.

richard

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You may be right about some of this Richard. Some of it is choice, some availablity and some is shelf life. We live way out of town and only shop once or twice a month. It is only the second year for Canada to give us a tax break, so we shall see what happens. Last year we didn't get any questions back. Hopefully it will stay that way, if not we'll have to deal with it.

There are some things that I don't claim as I could find a similiar item cheaper .. like ice cream :lol:

Just one more note on ice cream ... for those who are having trouble with dairy, the cheaper brand actually works better ... less cream. Having said that .. READ THE LABEL, I have found two cheap brands with Wheat starch listed! :(

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