Exotic Medical Travel

Today TaxMama hears from Kathy in the TaxQuips Forum with this interesting question. “My client and his young son traveled to Qingdao, China last year for the transplant of umbilical cord blood stem cells from my client’s daughter, for the treatment of quadriplegic cerebral palsy, at the Beike Biotech section of the hospital.  Are the airfare and medical expenses deductible?”
ttp://taxmama.com/forum/taxquips/foreign-medical-exp/

Dear Kathy,

This is something I explored with IRS 2 years ago.

Yes, the medical expenses are deductible. The travel costs for the patient and one caregiver are deductible. Lodging is limited to $50 per night for the patient and one caregiver (or one extra room).
In fact, two things I omitted from my forum response:

1) Since they most likely need to stay in China for a week or more so the doctors can follow up on the treatment, the lodging is deductible the whole time. Which means they are free to play tourist in between medical sessions.

2) If they stay at a facility operated by the hospital, and the cost of lodging is part of the total cost of the treatment, like a package deal, they can deduct the entire cost – even if it is more than $50 per person per night.

You can read the details here in TaxMama’s®   MarketWatch Column

And about the lodging limits, here:  ttp://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000178972

I hope this helps!
And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about medical travel and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com.

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  • Ask TaxMama :: Where taxes are fun and answers are free
  • www.TaxQuips.com :: The number ONE free tax podcast online
  • TaxMama’s MarketWatch Column :: Deducting Medical Expenses and Medical Travel
  • IRS Publication 502 :: Medical Lodging and travel
  • TaxMama’s Forum :: Where you can comment – and ask your own questions
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