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Tax Break For Celiac, Really?
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9 posts in this topic

I read about some kind of tax break for Celiac's Gluten Free Food. I have a record of everything big I have bought for the last year. I have 6 living at home that should be on a Celiac diet because of my genetics. Now, a tax break for Celiac could be quite a break for us. Who can tell me where to learn about this, or is it really too good to be true?

Do you need a doctor's diagnosis? For each person with Celiac?

Would it apply to beef? Would it only apply to foods labeled gluten free? Would it apply to my vegetable seeds?

Well, if you know where to direct us, let me know.

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I read about some kind of tax break for Celiac's Gluten Free Food. I have a record of everything big I have bought for the last year. I have 6 living at home that should be on a Celiac diet because of my genetics. Now, a tax break for Celiac could be quite a break for us. Who can tell me where to learn about this, or is it really too good to be true?

Do you need a doctor's diagnosis? For each person with Celiac?

Would it apply to beef? Would it only apply to foods labeled gluten free? Would it apply to my vegetable seeds?

Well, if you know where to direct us, let me know.

I am not giving tax advice here. If you are not well versed in taxes in the USA then I suggest seeking advice from a tax professional. If you file your own taxes utilizing deductions then you should understand the IRS Publication that I believe covers this topic. I believe that IRS Pub 502 covers this and it should be read thoroughly. There is no short reply that could be given here that everyone can follow (blame it on the IRS).

Basically, you should be able to deduct the differential between a gluten-free food product and a similar regular gluten laden food product as long as the aggregate amount of that differential exceeds 7.5% of your AGI using Schedule A. And no, in your example meat would not be part of this. Further note, for tax year 2012 the deduction threshold goes up to 10% of your AGI (from 7.5%) as result of the new (Obama) health care reform.

IRS Topic 502 Med and Dental Exp

IRS Publication 502

Good luck!

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If you are in Canada, I've heard there is an easier tax break.

In the USA, it would have to be a part of the medical deduction that is allowed.

This would mean, first of all, that your medical deduction would be something like 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Then you would have to take each specific gluten free item and show the difference in price from a normal item. The deductible amount would be the difference.

So, in essence, for most people USA really doesn't have a tax break that would work for celiac.

EDIT - i got called away mid-post, by the time I returned and finished this, I see the advice has already been rendered.

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If you are in Canada, I've heard there is an easier tax break.

In Canada it is pretty similar. i.e. it's a medical deduction, you need a diagnosis, and you have to subtract the cost of regularly priced items. I have claimed this but only because I had other medical expenses to add to the claim. On its own, it wouldn't be worth it for me.

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I'd definitely consult a tax professional before taking this type of deduction. Personally I wouldn't want to do anything that would "red flag" me for an audit. I don't know what you'd need to do to qualify your family for this type of deduction. Obviously we can't deduct ordinary things that most people can eat and there are a lot of gardeners out there who buy seeds. I can't imagine how that would be allowed.

Edit: I should also add that I live in the U.S.

Edited by sa1937
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And yes, you need the dx for each person. You can't claim it on "they should be on a gluten-free diet becaus eof genetics.".

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I will begin by saying that while I previously have been in the tax profession I have left it behind as it drives me insane and that if you intend to take this deduction you should immediately seek the help of a tax professional. I am in the US, so what I share pertains exclusively to the US.

First, as stated, you need a medical diagnosis stating that each person on the gluten free diet has a medical need for the gluten free diet.

This is a deduction that is lumped together with other medical expenses, and again as stated, beginning with the next tax filing season (assuming that everything will be as expected) you can only deduct what medical expenses exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. This will include visits to the doctor, prescriptions, eyeglasses and contacts, medical tests, mileage (yes, mileage) and your gluten free food.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. You don't get to deduct your hamburgers. Not even if they say gluten free on them, hamburgers are gluten free unless some moron does something monumentally stupid. You do get to deduct buns. Sort of. If wheat buns cost $2.00 and gluten free buns cost $5.00 you get to deduct $3.00. This only applies for your gluten free replacement foods and you are responsible for keeping records on the price of the foods that you are replacing as well. (I promise, the IRS will know how much food costs so don't plan on them not knowing.) I buy Splenda, it says on the package "naturally gluten free" but I wouldn't be able to deduct it because it always is, always has been gluten free and I'm not using it to replace some gluten filled food.

Again, this gets trickier. This form you add up all these deductions on also has other deductions. All of these deductions together get added up. Together they must reach a certain amount, which for 2011 was $11,600 (I believe, I'm too lazy to get out my tax papers) and it could always change for 2012. (This number also assumes you're married, I don't know the not married number off the top of my head... $5thousand something I think.) Anyway, this $11,600 is the standard deduction. It is the amount that is automatically deducted from your income that you don't have to pay taxes on. If you can not reach that number in deductions, medical and other, then you are wasting your time.

So it could be worth it go over your paperwork and see if you are even going to come close to eleven thousand dollars. Also, go talk to a talk professional. You may have other deductions, I don't know. Not saying don't do it but I am saying it is complicated frequently not worth it.

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Thought I would add..if you are buying produce, meat, dairy as snacks, etc. instead of gluten filled options like petzels,cookies, cereals, etc. you can't claim it. You can only claim the difference in price between regular items and the gluten-free version..just as Adelaide said.

Bummer...I wish I could write off my produce bill. :lol: LOL

I put our 3 dogs on gluten-free food so they don't contaminate me. I don't know if that would qualify? The IRS might claim I could get rid of the dogs, rather than have that expense? Confusing stuff!

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We go through a tax person and for the past two years have taken the tax deduction but I have documented everything and kept the reciepts. Also, you can only deduct the difference for a food item as others have stated (actual bread less the gluten-free bread). I have done it in the past as my overall medical expenses have been so high, my health insurance is almost 1,000 a month, hospital stays etc. We file separate and my personal income is so low that it makes a big difference. If we were to file jointly our income would be high enough to not make it worth the effort. I also have a letter from my dr stating my condition and the need for various supplements etc. This year I will probably not do it as my overall medical costs (excluding insurance) have been quite low so it probably won't make any difference.

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