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Is a Weight Loss Program Deductible?

Is a Weight Loss Program Deductible?

Weight loss resolutions are the biggest topic each year, but not many know they can deduct weight loss expenses by itemizing their tax returns. However, the IRS has given space to taxpayers to look after their health, especially when it becomes risky. Here is the skinny:

You Can Deduct Weight Loss Programs 

A taxpayer can deduct all big commercial weight loss programs such as Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or weight loss programs at the hospital. However, the doctor needs to confirm that your weight is becoming harmful to your wellbeing and health. You must consider enrolling in a weight loss program to address issues such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease. 

You Must have Legitimate Expenses

Sadly, you are not allowed to deduct things like food, home workout equipment, nutritional supplements, health club/gym/spa fees, or any insurance coverage. However, you can also benefit from initial meeting fees, behavioral counseling, physician appointments, nutritionists, and dietitians.

Keep costs in Mind

The expenses must be above 7.5% of the adjustable gross income to be eligible for the deduction. For example, earning $45,000 annually, you will be allowed to deduct expenses more than $3375; a person with $50,000 AGI will be able to deduct expenses above $3,750.

You Cannot Include Vanity

If you want to reduce the extra fat by using liposuction or you are thinking of enrolling at a local gym club to look or feel better, such expenses are not deductible. However, exercise may be beneficial to health but does not count except things like Bariatric surgery, weight loss medications approved by the FDA, and other medical bills related to reducing or preventing physical and mental diseases caused by weight or obesity. 


You know how priceless good health can be, but it costs a lot for weight loss. However, you may join a medically approved weight loss scheme that costs less. Some health programs are authorized to allow deduction and cost saving on weight loss plans. There are three programs that can achieve such – HSAs / MSAs, FSAs, and deductible medical costs for itemizing tax reports.

HSAs / MSAs:

HSA, aka Health Saving Account or MSA, aka Medical Saving Account is an account purpose for saving and paying medical expenses for qualified taxpayers. The programs allow taxpayers to save for future medical costs tax-free. Check with your health program to see if it qualifies.

However, keep in mind that the IRS allows you to deduct expenses paid on weight loss if you're  treating obesity, hypertension, heart attack, etc., as stated by the doctor or physician. If you face such threats, you can consult your tax preparer and doctor to get a qualified program that can cover the medical weight loss treatment expenses. In addition, you may get an extra explanation regarding HSAs and MSAs to understand the best program for you better.

Flexible Savings Accounts:

FSA, also known as a Flexible Spending Account, is a pre-taxed program with similar benefits to Health Saving Accounts and Medical Saving Accounts. However, these programs have used date and expiring date. The IRS may forfeit if you do not use your Flexible Saving Account funds during the enacted year or during the grace period. However, you can roll over Health Saving Account and Medical Saving Account funds to subsequent years to accumulate. However, all programs have similar tax relief.

Do you have any of these accounts?

The employer awards these programs. So, it is best to check your workplace HR management department to verify if your employer offers such benefits and how you can take part. 

Medical deduction on itemization:

Suppose you lack a Health Saving Account, Medical Saving Account, or Flexible Saving Account but use an itemization method to deduct your expenses; you can deduct your medically approved weight loss cost and other medical issues like dentist visits. However, the IRS allows the deduction of medical and dental expenses over 7.5% of your AGI.



Dennis Jao
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