Can I deduct eyeglasses?

September 19, 2019 by Karen Thomas-Brandt, EA
Woman wearing eyeglasses

The short answer is “Yes.” However, as with most tax questions, the better answer is “It depends.” Medical expenses are deductible if they are paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a disease or illness. So, if you are talking about “fashion” eyeglasses, then no, those are not deductible; however, prescription eyeglasses for correcting your vision are deductible as a medical expense on Schedule A, as long as you have NOT been reimbursed for the expense. To make it a little more complicated, medical expenses as a whole are deductible in 2018 only if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Finally, if you choose to take the standard deduction rather than itemize because it is more beneficial, you will not get to take advantage of the eyeglass deduction.

For example, Joe, a single taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $50,000, purchased a pair of prescription eyeglasses in 2018 for $200. With a filing status of single, Joe is entitled to a standard deduction of $12,000; however, with that standard deduction, there is no benefit of the eyeglass expense. If Joe wanted to deduct and benefit from the eyeglass expense, his total medical expenses (including the eyeglasses), would need to be $3750 or more ($50,000 * 7.5% = $3750). And his total itemized deductions would also need to exceed $12,000 (the standard deduction he would receive without itemizing).

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Karen Thomas-Brandt, EA
Corporate Trainer

 

Karen Thomas-Brandt, EA, is a Corporate Trainer at TaxAudit, the largest and fastest-growing audit defense service in the country and the exclusive provider of TurboTax® Audit Defense. With more than 16 years in the tax field, Karen has prepared thousands of tax returns and defended hundreds of taxpayers in audits. In her current role, Karen specializes in researching complicated tax topics, developing workshops, and training tax professionals on effective audit representation and tax return analysis.


 

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