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azaline
Returning Member

Medical deduction credits

Can I get credit for a Walk in Tub?

4 Replies
JamesG1
Expert Alumni

Medical deduction credits

A walk-in tub is an improvement that may qualify for a medical deduction on 1040 Schedule A Itemized Deductions.  See IRS publication 502 page 6

 

Certain improvements made to accommodate a home to your disabled condition, or that of your spouse or your dependents who live with you, don't usually increase the value of the home and the cost can be included in full as medical expenses. These improvements include, but aren't limited to, the following items.

  • Constructing entrance or exit ramps for your home.
  • Widening doorways at entrances or exits to your home.
  • Widening or otherwise modifying hallways and interior doorways.
  • Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications to bathrooms.
  • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
  • Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures.
  • Installing porch lifts and other forms of lifts (but elevators generally add value to the house).
  • Modifying stairways.
  • Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms).
  • Modifying hardware on doors.
  • Modifying areas in front of entrance and exit doorways.
  • Grading the ground to provide access to the residence.

Only reasonable costs to accommodate a home to your disabled condition are considered medical care. Additional costs for personal motives, such as for architectural or aesthetic reasons, aren't medical expenses.

 

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Opus 17
Level 15

Medical deduction credits


@azaline wrote:

Can I get credit for a Walk in Tub?


Yes, but it's complicated.  Home improvements made for medical reasons are only deductions if they do not also increase the value of the home.  If they increase the value of the home, they adjust your cost basis and may reduce your capital gains later, but are not a deduction now.  

 

The IRS recognizes that many improvements made for medical reasons probably don't increase the value of the home.  But you will need to document (write down) your reasons for how you decided this, and keep that with your other important tax papers for as long as you own the home.

 

For example, if you did a $10,000 bathroom remodel that included a walk-in tub, you probably can't count the entire remodel as a medical expense since it probably increased the value of your home.  But the difference in cost between a standard tub and a walk-in would be the deductible medical expense. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
NCperson
Level 15

Medical deduction credits

I don't know..... walk in tubs are more appealing to Baby Boomer generation seeking homes - for no medical reason.   How are you going to prove that a walk in tub doesn't increase the value of the home?

Opus 17
Level 15

Medical deduction credits


@NCperson wrote:

I don't know..... walk in tubs are more appealing to Baby Boomer generation seeking homes - for no medical reason.   How are you going to prove that a walk in tub doesn't increase the value of the home?


Generally, by getting a real estate appraisal, or at least an estimate from a real estate agent.

 

As always, the rule is "if you are audited, the IRS does not have to award any deduction you can't prove to their satisfaction."  So the taxpayer would have to determine the risk/benefit of claiming the deduction with or without paying for an appraisal or consultation.

 

I suspect it would depend strongly on the regional real estate market.  A walk in tub, for example, might be much more enticing in a Florida condo than on a Minnesota dairy farm. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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