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Thanks to Alyssa Roberts Boscarelli, who posted some links to this information on the Ohio Dyslexia Group Facebook page.
[I want to note that it's always wise to double check any advice found here or on other sites.]
IRS Publication says
How much of the Expenses can you deduct? You can deduct on Schedule A (Form 1040) only the amount of your medical and dental expenses that is more than 7.5% of your AGE (Form 1040, line 38.)
For example, if : the AGI is $40,000, 7.5% of that amount is $3,000. Any expense less than that would be non-deductible.
- “Dependent:” You can include medical expenses you paid for your dependent. The person must have been your dependent either at the time the medical services were provided, or at the time you paid the expenses. A person generally qualifies as your dependent for this purpose if A)the person was a “qualifying child” or a “qualifying relative” [check for the exact meaning of these terms] and B) the person was a US citizen or national or a resident of the US, Canada, or Mexico. (Adopted child: you may need to do further checking to locate “Exception for adopted child.”)
- Special Education: You can include – in medical expenses - fees you pay on a doctor’s recommendation for a child’s tutoring by a teacher who is specially trained and qualified to work with children who have learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments (including nervous system disorders). You can also include the cost (tuition, meals and lodging) of attending a school that furnishes special education to help a child to overcome learning disabilities. A doctor must recommend that the child attend the school. Overcoming learning disabilities must be a principal reason for attending the school, and any ordinary education received must be incidental to the special education provided. For a look at the link, http://files.e2ma.net/14242/assets/docs/irs_publication_502.pdf
Information from the Journal of Accountancy
The Journal of Accountancy had headlines that read “Dyslexia program tuition is a valid deduction;” and “Special education is a medical expense.”
They give further details, saying that the IRS (in letter ruling 200521003) has held that tuition paid to a school program to help dyslexic children deal with their condition can be an IRC section 213(a) deductible medical expense.
The article notes that the IRS first explained that “normal education” is not medical care.
For education to be considered medical care, a physician or other qualified professional must diagnose a medical condidtion that requires special education to correct it. The school need not hire doctors, but it must have professional staff competent to design and supervise a curriculum providing such care. Overcoming the disability must be the primary reason for the child attending the school. For more analysis, visit http://files.e2ma.net/14242/assets/docs/dyslexia_tuitionisavaliddeduction.pdf
From the Tax Research Consultant, we learn that a “special school” is distinguished by the substantive content of its curriculum.
Although ordinary education may be provided by the school, it must be incidental to enabling the student to compensate for or overcome a handicap so that the student will be prepared for future normal education or normal living.
The IRS privately ruled that the tuition, summer school, tutoring and transportation costs for a dyslexic child in a school that accepts only handicapped children with specific learning disabilities and has a curriculum tailored for learning disabled children are deductible.
Whether a school is a special school, however, is determined by the nature of the services received by the handicapped student — not with respect to the institution as a whole.
Examples of special schools:
- Schools for training the mentally retarded.
- Schools for average and above average students who have learning disabilities, with the purpose of providing an environment in which they can adjust to a normal competitive classroom situation.
- A regular school’s curriculum that is specially designed to meet the needs of handicapped children whose IQ scores ranged between 50 and 75. A class must be structured to educate students who were not able to profit from the education that was being offered through ordinary classroom instruction, but whose intellectual ability indicates the possibility of a degree of scholastic attainment with the help of specially trained teachers and special methods and materials.
- A special school for a child with severe learning disabilities.
For a closer look, and all the footnotes, visit http://files.e2ma.net/14242/assets/docs/taxresearch_tuitionasmedicalexpense.pdf
Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email email@example.com