Are surgery costs tax deductible?
Extraordinary burdens: Controversial issue of operating room costs
Anyone who incurs extraordinary burdens - for example high medical costs, maintenance or care costs for themselves or a family member - can claim these in the income tax return as a tax deduction. However, a new ruling shows that the assertion of the charges is not that easy.
In their income tax return, a couple claimed surgery costs - just under 5,000 euros - for a breast reduction in their daughter as extraordinary burdens. They presented a medical certificate from the gynecologist, which certified that the significant inequality of the breasts led to serious psychological stress. The daughter is strongly inhibited with depressive features. However, the health insurance company had obtained an opinion from the medical service, which had come to the conclusion that the impairments had no disease value that justified assumption of costs.
Evidence was insufficient
The defendant tax office therefore refused to take into account the claimed operation costs because the medical indication for the operation was not proven. The parents complained against this. The operation was not a cosmetic operation, because if the operation had not been carried out, long-term psychological treatment with not inconsiderable costs and questionable treatment success would have had to be carried out.
Verdict: therapy instead of surgery
Unfortunately, the parents were unsuccessful at the Rhineland-Palatinate Finance Court (Az. 5 K 1753/13). Preventive expenses were based on a free will and should therefore be added to the non-deductible costs. Treatment costs can only be taken into account in the case of complaints with a disease value and this is not the case with the daughter. For this reason, any psychological stress or consequences can be alleviated with the means of psychotherapy and do not justify an operation. The fact that psychotherapeutic treatment results in similarly high or higher costs is irrelevant.
Our tip: Draw costs into the same year
Extraordinary burdens only lead to tax savings if they exceed the so-called reasonable burden. This co-payment depends on income, marital status and number of children. Anyone who has medical costs every year but does not exceed this limit should check whether treatment and drug costs can possibly be bundled in one year.
(Viola C. Didier / smartsteuer)
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