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Can a Swimming Pool Be Deducted as a Medical Expense?

Can a Swimming Pool Be Deducted as a Medical Expense?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific guidelines and requirements when deducting medical expenses on your income tax return. One common question that arises is whether a swimming pool can be deducted as a medical expense. While it may be possible in some situations, it is important to understand the IRS guidelines and limitations to ensure compliance with tax laws.


1. Medical Expenses and Deductions

The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct certain medical expenses on their tax returns, but some limitations and criteria must be met. According to IRS Publication 502, medical expenses are defined as "the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body."

2. Deductibility of a Swimming Pool

The cost of constructing a swimming pool is not deductible as a medical expense. The IRS considers a swimming pool to be a capital expense that provides personal enjoyment and recreational benefits rather than a medical necessity. However, there are circumstances in which a swimming pool may qualify as a deductible medical expense.

3. Pool as Medical Expense: Special Conditions

To qualify for a deduction, a swimming pool must meet specific criteria outlined by the IRS. The primary condition is that a physician must prescribe the pool as a medical necessity. Here are some scenarios where a swimming pool might be deemed necessary for medical reasons:

  • Hydrotherapy: If a physician prescribes the use of a swimming pool for hydrotherapy, where the aid of the water-based exercises in treating or managing a specific medical condition, the cost of constructing the pool may be considered a deductible medical expense.

  • Medical Condition: If you or a family member has a medical condition that requires regular exercise or physical therapy, and a swimming pool is the most effective or practical means of receiving that therapy, the pool may be eligible for a deduction. Examples include arthritis, muscular dystrophy, or other mobility impairments.

  • Capital Improvements: In certain cases, if modifying an existing swimming pool to make it suitable for medical purposes requires substantial capital improvements, the portion of the expenses attributable to those improvements may be considered deductible.

4. Documentation and Proof

Proper documentation and proof are crucial to claim a swimming pool as a medical expense. The following steps should be followed:

  • Obtain a written prescription: A written prescription from a licensed healthcare professional states the swimming pool's medical necessity is essential.

  • Detailed Cost Breakdown: Maintain a detailed cost breakdown that clearly distinguishes between the cost of the pool itself and any additional expenses related to medical modifications or capital improvements.

  • Keep Receipts: Retain all receipts and invoices related to the construction, installation, and maintenance of the pool, including any expenses incurred for modifications or improvements.

  • Consult a Tax Professional: Given the complexity of tax laws and the specific circumstances involved, it is advisable to consult a tax professional or certified public accountant (CPA) who can provide guidance and ensure compliance.

5. Other Considerations

  • Limitations: Even if a swimming pool qualifies as a deductible medical expense, there are limitations to the amount you can deduct. Medical expenses are generally subject to a threshold based on a percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Check the current IRS guidelines or consult a tax professional to determine the tax year's specific threshold.

  • Alternative Deductions: If the swimming pool expenses do not meet the criteria for the deduction, there may be other eligible medical expenses that you can deduct, such as hospital bills, prescription medications, or medically necessary home modifications.

  • State Tax Laws: It is important to note that state tax laws may vary, and what is deductible at the federal level may not be deductible at the state level. Check your state's tax laws or consult a tax professional to understand the specific rules applicable in your jurisdiction.


While the cost of constructing a swimming pool is generally not deductible as a medical expense, there are exceptions when it can be deemed necessary for medical purposes. Obtaining a written prescription from a healthcare professional and meeting other IRS guidelines may make it possible to claim a swimming pool as a deductible medical expense. However, it is essential to keep meticulous records, consult a tax professional, and adhere to IRS regulations to ensure compliance with tax laws. Always consult a tax professional or refer to the latest IRS publications for the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding medical expense deductions.



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