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Medical mileage important, accountant says

Costs may unexpectedly add up to the point at which deducting them is possible

Staff writer

Getting into the habit of keeping track of mileage connected with medical trips is something that could benefit people when filing income tax returns, a Marion tax accountant says.

“We never know when we start the year how much medical-related mileage we will have,” Woody Crawshaw said. “People don’t realize how fast mileage accumulates.”

Forms are available for recording starting and ending mileage, the destination, and the reason for the trip.

Taxpayers may include trips to the local pharmacy for prescriptions as well as trips to a hospital or clinic or to pick up medical equipment.

Cost of equipment such as walkers, canes, wheel chairs, and tub chairs also may be deductible.

Receipts for meals, refreshments, or overnight stays at motels also should be retained.

An almost doubling of the standard deduction under new tax laws will eliminate the need to itemize medical expenses for many people, Crawshaw said, but it is still a good idea to keep good records in case total expenses unexpectedly exceed the threshold for deductability.

Until Jan. 1, 2019, taxpayers may deduct total medical expenses that exceed 7½ percent of adjusted gross income. After that date, they will be deductable only if they exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

“There’s every reason to do it and no reason not to do it,” Crawshaw said. “It’s up to the individual. If they want to do it, they’ll do it, and if they don’t want to, they won’t.”

Crawshaw is starting his 49th season as a tax preparer.

Last modified Jan. 4, 2018

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