When it comes to tax deductions, the IRS has strict rules and regulations regarding the type of expenses we can deduct and those that we cannot. With tax season being only a couple of weeks away, we might want to make sure we are not requesting a deduction we do not qualify for. Therefore, we have gathered five common expenses not to deduct from our income tax returns. These expenses include those for over-the-counter medicine, commuting and transportation, family pets, volunteer work, and plastic surgeries. Just remember that there may be some exceptions that could make these expenses eligible to be deducted from your tax bill.
Over-the-Counter Medicine Expenses
We know that deducting medical expenses is an important part of our tax return, however, we need to be careful when taking this deduction. Medicine for headaches and cold remedies we buy at pharmacies are not tax-deductible when they qualify as an over-the-counter medicine. The only medicine the IRS considers deductible is that prescribed by a doctor. Also, kits for pregnancy tests and blood sugar levels, breast-feeding pumps, and bottles can be deducted.
Commuting and Transportation Expenses
Despite popular belief, commuting and transportation costs of getting to and from work are not tax-deductible. Whether we take the bus, train, taxi, or drive our own car, these are an example of personal expenses not to deduct from your taxes. The only case on which you could get these costs deducted is if you have to work at two places on the same day. This applies regardless of working for the same employer or not. Also, we can deduct commuting expenses when we move to and from a temporary job, which shouldn’t last for more than one year.
Family Pet Expenses
Having a family pet can become quite expensive, especially when they get sick and we need to get them specialized care. These are expenses you shouldn’t deduct from your taxes since they still qualify as personal expenses. However, we can deduct the expenses of buying, training, and maintaining a service animal, like a guide dog. These expenses include food, grooming, and veterinary care that enable the service animal to perform properly.
Volunteer Work Monetary Value
If we do volunteer work for a non-profit organization, we might think that we would be able to claim the monetary value of the hours we spend with them. Yet, these expenses aren’t deductible, and we shouldn’t add them to our list of deductions for our tax returns. Nonetheless, we can deduct the miles we drive while doing charity work, as long as we use the rate of 14 cents per mile. Therefore, we need to make sure we keep an accurate record of the miles we drive for charity work.
Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery Expenses
Lastly, cosmetic and plastic surgery costs are also expenses you shouldn’t deduct from your taxes. This includes liposuctions, face-lifts, electrolysis, and other cosmetic procedures we might get to enhance our appearance. We can only deduct this type of expense when our doctor says we need plastic surgery if it’s necessary to improve a deformity from a congenital abnormality, an injury from an accident, trauma, or a disfiguring disease.