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IRS restricts deductions for diet foods

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in Small Business Tax

Q. Can I deduct the cost of Jenny Craig food if my doctor told me to go on a diet? Anonymous, Jupiter, Fla.

A. Not if it is just to benefit your overall health. Generally, for expenses to qualify as deductible medical expenses, they must be incurred for the prevention or alleviation of a specific physical or mental defect or illness. Special diet foods and beverages associated with a weight loss program may qualify for a deduction if the items have been prescribed by a physician for the alleviation or treatment of a specific illness like hypertension or heart disease.

Tip: For 2012, you can deduct unreimbursed medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI). The threshold increases to 10% of AGI in 2013 for those under age 65.

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