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    Are You Due For a Gluten-free Tax Break?

    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 03/21/2014 - According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, the burden of celiac disease can cost an extra $1,000 to $2,500 per year. However, many people who eat gluten-free diets as treatment for celiac disease or other medical conditions are eligible for tax breaks.

    Image: Wikimedia Commons.Those who do eat gluten-free due to medical conditions will be happy to learn that both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Agency list gluten-free food as an eligible medical expense. That means that filers may be eligible for tax relief for gluten-free-related food expenses.

    For example, according to the Canada Revenue Agency website, celiac disease suffers are "entitled to claim the incremental costs associated with the purchase of gluten-free products as a medical expense." That means Canadians with celiac disease can claim the difference between the cost of their gluten-free food and the cost of comparable regular food. However, there are a few hoops to jump through. To claim the credit, Canadian taxpayers need a doctor's letter confirming celiac disease; a receipt for every item claimed; and a summary for each item calculating the cost differential for gluten-free products.

    U.S. residents can deduct the extra cost for gluten-free foods and goods purchased to meet celiac dietary needs. Shipping and delivery costs for those gluten-free products can also be deducted. Also, for any special trip to purchase gluten-free foods, the cost of transportation to and from the store is deductible, including mileage, tolls and parking fees. The vehicle deduction for trips during 2013 is 24 cents per mile.

    To claim these deductions, taxpayers first need an official, written celiac diagnosis from a doctor. A copy of this diagnosis must be submitted with other completed tax forms.

    Taxpayers will then complete form 1040 schedule A for medical deductions. For reference taxpayers may cite: IRS Publication 502; Revenue Rulings: 55-261, 76-80, 2002-19 and 67 TC 481; Cohen 38 TC 387; Flemming TC MEMO 1980 583; and Van Kalb TC MEMO 1978 366

    This must be supported with copies of receipts for all gluten-free purchases, along with lists of prices for gluten-free food and regular counterparts being claimed.

    The difference between those prices is tax-deductible. For example, if a pound of wheat flour costs $0.60 and a pound of rice flour costs $3.40, then you may deduct $2.80 for each pound of rice flour you are claiming for that tax year.

    Remember, some specialty products like xanthan gum and sorghum flour are fully tax-deductible as they have no "regular" counterpart but are purchased to meet your dietary needs.

    Of course, for specific advice, contact an accountant.

    Sources:

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    Guest Barbara

    Posted

    I am just starting a gluten-free diet so I need lots of info and recipes. I am also a type 2 diabetic. Thank you!

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    Excellent news and information about saving money on taxes. Everyone knows it's more expensive to eat gluten free, glad to see the government recognizes too!

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    Guest Sharon

    Posted

    I think you need to itemize, or met a 7 or 10% of income medical expense amount to deduct? More detail on that would be good. The paperwork seems too much for busy people. A small credit or standard deduction with a celiac diagnosis would be more helpful. But it is something, and we know how expensive gluten-free foods can be.

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    Guest Betty tirey

    Posted

    I keep waiting for some bright person to develop an app for recording and tracking gluten-free foods.

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    In the U.S., one must itemize and medical expenses have to be 7% to 10% (I can't recall the percentage now) of the person's gross income...thanks for noting that, Sharon. That's a lot of paperwork and receipt saving! I'm with Sharon that a standard deduction for celiacs or tax break would be more reasonable.

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    Guest Sheila

    Posted

    I think you need to itemize, or met a 7 or 10% of income medical expense amount to deduct? More detail on that would be good. The paperwork seems too much for busy people. A small credit or standard deduction with a celiac diagnosis would be more helpful. But it is something, and we know how expensive gluten-free foods can be.

    I have a spread sheet on Excel with each item that I buy. It lists the store cost of the item and below I list the cost of the gluten free item. I have it set up that at the end of the year, it will figure the cost difference. My accountant loves it.

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    Guest Janice

    Posted

    I have a spread sheet on Excel with each item that I buy. It lists the store cost of the item and below I list the cost of the gluten free item. I have it set up that at the end of the year, it will figure the cost difference. My accountant loves it.

    Sheila, that is brilliant...I really must take the time to set that up. A few minutes of planning in the beginning will make a huge difference in the amount of time needed at the end of the year to figure everything out! Thank you!

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    Guest Michelle

    Posted

    I have a spread sheet on Excel with each item that I buy. It lists the store cost of the item and below I list the cost of the gluten free item. I have it set up that at the end of the year, it will figure the cost difference. My accountant loves it.

    I plan on doing this as well. I just find it difficult to calculate when the product sizes are different. For example, a loaf of Udi's bread is about half the size, AND more expensive than a regular loaf of bread. Does that not get accounted for, or is it okay to list the unit cost and size of each item and do the calculations that way?

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    Guest shirley Cole

    Posted

    I have a spread sheet on Excel with each item that I buy. It lists the store cost of the item and below I list the cost of the gluten free item. I have it set up that at the end of the year, it will figure the cost difference. My accountant loves it.

    I have Excel on my computer, but don't know how to set up a program and have never used it. I just use Outlook and Word. If you have a sample sheet or list of mainstream products & prices as well as the gluten-free counterparts, I would love to have a copy. I could follow that to set it up with the products I use. I don't think I could get all of those prices without having a panic attack in the store. I could type it all into my computer if I had the items and prices. Do you know if this applies to organic foods as well? I am sensitive to all kinds of chemicals. I am a senior citizen, 7-year breast cancer survivor, 7-years since celiac diagnosis, Hashimotos, and 4 1/2 years with hives and angio edema from unknown causes, probably meds, food additives and chemicals. I desperately need the tax deduction, but the additional stress of compiling all of the comparable prices would probably trigger a hive outbreak, panic attack or both.

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    Guest Carlene

    Posted

    I have a spread sheet on Excel with each item that I buy. It lists the store cost of the item and below I list the cost of the gluten free item. I have it set up that at the end of the year, it will figure the cost difference. My accountant loves it.

    Would you be willing to share the spreadsheet for those of us who don't understand how? It would help a lot. Thank you for sharing.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com.

    Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA.

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