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It’s tax season!

In the U.S. there are less than three weeks left to file your tax returns for 2015.

Those very words are enough to incite fear and dread in even the most conscientious citizen.

If you’re like me, you’ve procrastinated a bit on your taxes this year.  I don’t know what happened, I usually have my stuff all sent to the accountant by mid-February, but for some reason I just haven’t been able to get myself organized and get it done yet this year. Now it’s hanging over me like a lead weight.

The good news is that there’s still time to get your taxes organized and filed.  Even better, if you underwent fertility treatment in 2015, you may be able to get a little relief on your taxes.

Yes.  Fertility treatment is difficult. It’s grueling.  It’s emotional.  It’s astonishingly expensive.  It’s taxing in so many ways.

But it might actually help you out on your tax return.

According to Irene Lawrence, an Enrolled Agent (EA) and owner of Lawrence Associates in Menlo Park, CA, many expenses that fertility patients incur in the course of their treatment might be deductible on their personal taxes.  For so many of us, these astronomical expenses aren’t covered by medical insurance.  It’s good to know there’s another avenue to potentially get relief.

Here’s what’s tax deductible:

  • Medical fertility treatments, such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and egg and embryo freezing and storage. You don’t specifically need an infertility diagnosis to claim these expenses, but usually if you’re in treatment you’ve already been diagnosed.
  • Medical testing for infertility, which could include bloodwork, genetic testing, hysterosalpingogram (HSG), and semen analysis.
  • Prescription medication, which could include Clomid, Letrozole/Femara, Lupron, Metformin, Injectable FSH (Gonal-F, Bravelle, Menopur, Follistim or Repronex) and HCG trigger shots (Ovidrel).
  • Some “alternative” medical procedures, such as acupuncture.
  • Mileage to and from appointments and procedures, if you’re driving your own car, at 23 cents a mile (for 2015).

Here’s where you deduct it:

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. If you’re not already using Schedule A and instead take the government’s standard deduction, this can be a hard nut to crack.  If you are close, Lawrence’s best advice is to bunch as many potential deductions into one year as you can. For example, you can deduct a deductible expense the year you charge it to your credit card, even if you don’t pay it off until a later year.

What’s not tax deductible:

  • Illegal medications, even if prescribed by a doctor. This includes marijuana; even if pot is legal in your state, it can’t be deducted on your federal tax return since it’s still illegal on the federal level.
  • Over-the-counter medications, even if prescribed by a doctor.
  • Non-medical expenses aimed at improving general health rather than treating a specific medical condition. This would include herbs, nutrition supplements, health food, gym membership, or a vacation to reduce stress.
  • Adoption isn’t a medical expense and therefore can’t be deducted on Schedule A; however, an adoption credit is available to you if you adopted a child in 2015 and fall within the IRS’s income guidelines.  This credit was established in 1997 and the maximum credit is $13,460 for 2015 adoptions.  Adoption fees, attorney fees, court costs, travel (including meals and lodging) and other expenses directly related to the adoption are all eligible for the credit.  To claim the adoption credit, use IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

As always with tax-related matters, there can be gray areas, such as surrogacy and egg donation.  According to Lawrence, there are conflicting opinions on how to treat these circumstances from a tax perspective.  There are also rumors, although no statistical evidence, that audit interpretation tends to favor conventional taxpayers (heterosexual couples and childless women) over same-sex couples and childless men.

For specific questions relating to your unique case, your best bet is to consult with an Enrolled Agent or other tax professional.  An EA is a tax specialist, tested and licensed by the Treasury Department to act as agent for taxpayers, meaning that they can offer the full range of tax services – in addition to preparing tax returns and giving tax advice, EAs can represent taxpayers at all levels of the IRS.

Now, time for me to close off this post (I have to go do my taxes!).

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