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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Tax Deduction for Gluten-Free Foods as a Medical Expense for Diagnosed Celiacs Only

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    The following guidelines were received from the Oct. 1993 CSA/USA National Conference in Buffalo, NY:

    1) You can claim only the EXTRA COST of the gluten-free product over what you would pay for the similar item at a grocery store. For example, if wheat flour costs $0.89 per 5 lbs. and rice flour is $3.25 per 5 lbs., the DIFFERENCE of $2.36 is tax deductible. You may also claim mileage expense for the extra trip to the health food store and postal costs on gluten-free products ordered by mail.

    2) The cost of xanthan gum (methylcellulose, etc.) used in gluten-free home baked goods is completely different than anything used in an ordinary recipe, so in the opinion of the IRS, the total cost of this item can be claimed.

    3) Save all cash register tapes, receipts, and canceled checks to substantiate your gluten-free purchases. You will need to prepare a list of grocery store prices to arrive at the differences in costs. You need not submit it with your return, but do retain it.

    4) Attach a letter from your doctor to your tax return. This letter should state that you have Celiac Sprue disease and must adhere to a total gluten-free diet for life.

    5) Under MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS list as Extra cost of a gluten-free diet the total amount of your extra expenses. You do not need to itemize these expenses.


    1) You may want to write the Citations (as given below) on your tax return. Always keep a copy of your doctors letter for your own records.

    2) Your IRS office may refer you to Publication 17 and tell you these deductions are not permissible. IRS representatives have ruled otherwise and this is applicable throughout the US Refer them to the following Citations:

    • Revenue Ruling 55-261
    • Cohen 38 TC 387
    • Revenue Ruling 76-80, 67 TC 481
    • Flemming TC MEMO 1980 583
    • Van Kalb TC MEMO 1978 366

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    Guest Celia Slagowski


    Would love to have a copy of that spreadsheet referred to by Cyndie 30 Mar 2011 as it would be so helpful to keep track of gluten free purchases. Wonderful article and advice. Any breaks appreciated. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

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    I would like to thank you so much for placing all this highly informative information to your website. I am 15 years old and have only recently discovered that I have celiac disease. My mum has found it very costly to completely change my diet to avoid gluten. This is very useful information as we have now had to completely change all of our eating habits and dietary requirements. Thank you greatly for your helpful information, I will without a doubt be referring this website to my friends with the disease also.

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    Hello, think anyone here could point me to Canadian resources for stuff like this? It seems like all the best celiac sites seem to be for residents in the US. I am trying to find some help here in Canada, I have been basically starving at the end of every month because I am on disability (I also suffer from Fibromyalgia) but it isn't enough. I am also having a really hard time finding a doctor that gives a crap about either of my problems so although I have been sick for 24 years I am only now just starting to know what to do...now if only I could afford to do it.

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    I was not diagnosed a celiac but, I am gluten intolerant. Can I too write off the gluten-free products as a medical expense? Has anyone actually accomplished this deduction on their tax returns?

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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