According the IRS, if you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct expenses you paid that year for medical care for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. Specifically, you may deduct the amount by which your total medical care expenses for the year exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
Technically, deductions are allowed only for expenses primarily paid for "the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness." The IRS specifically states that you may not deduct "most cosmetic surgery."
However, many of the surgeries that I do are both cosmetic and functional. Examples:
- Breast reductions: Not only are the breasts lifted and made cuter, but also the removal of the excess weight greatly relieves neck, upper back, and shoulder pain.
- Breast lifts: Elevating the breasts (so that a woman fails the "pencil test") diminishes sweating and rashes in the folds beneath the breasts.
- Tummy tucks: Certainly, flattening the tummy is the primary goal, but also removing the apron of excess skin diminishes sweating and rashes.
- Blepharoplasties/Eyelid surgery: Trimming the excess skin and fat from the upper eyelids creates a more rested, awake appearance, and also improves sight by ridding the patient of tissue that directly obstructs the visual fields.
So, for many cosmetic surgeries, I could honestly write a letter to the patient's accountant stating that the surgery alleviated a physical ailment, and, therefore, consideration should be given towards a tax deduction.