10 Creative (But Legal) Tax Deductions


Medical Expenses

nurse, patient in a wheelchair
You can deduct your medical expenses if they're greater than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

The IRS allows you to deduct medical expenses as itemized deductions, but only if the expenses are greater than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income [source: IRS]. Even if you consider yourself a relatively healthy person, you might want to read the fine print on Schedule A.

For starters, you can deduct medical expenses for yourself, your spouse and any dependents. Not only are you allowed to claim out-of-pocket expenses from doctor's office visits and medications, but also unconventional practitioners like chiropractors, acupuncturists, Christian Science practitioners, and pretty much anyone who can write a note saying that the treatment is medically necessary [source: IRS]. There are even taxpayers who have successfully deducted the expense of installing a backyard swimming pool because a doctor said it would help treat their emphysema [source: TurboTax].

And don't forget about travel expenses. You can deduct up to 17 cents a mile for driving back and forth from medical treatments, including meetings for programs like Alcoholics Anonymous [source: IRS]. You can even deduct the cost of traveling to a conference about your specific medical condition, although the costs of meals and lodging are on you.

If you have a child with a diagnosed learning disability, you can also deduct the cost of any special education programs and therapies, the mileage traveled to those therapies, and even the tuition costs for higher education programs specifically for people with learning disabilities [source: IRS].

Service animals are another deductible medical expense, but we'll talk more about service dogs and other animal-related deductions on the next page.