Monday, October 5, 2009

Are the costs of ABA therapy deductible as a medical expense?

I approach answering this question with some trepidation. I have not found a clear-cut answer, and there are aspects of ABA (applied behavioral analysis) therapy with which I am not familiar. Therefore, I am going to put some disclaimers directly into this post:

I. IRS Circular 230 Disclaimer

NOTHING in this post is intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding Federal Tax penalties, and it cannot be used by the reader or any taxpayer to avoid Federal Tax penalties, and this post was not written to support the promotion or marketing of any transaction or matter discussed in it.

II. Consult Your Tax Advisor

This is not legal advice that you can use in any way. Consult your tax advisor about whether you can or should take this as a medical deduction.

III. This does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Now, back to the question:

It is my belief that ABA therapy does qualify, in whole or in some parts, as an expense that is properly deductible on Schedule A as a medical expense. How much of the therapy you can deduct will depend upon the actual modalities used in your particular situation. The fact that something is called ABA therapy does not necessarily make it "medical" in nature. You might have to look at each particular activity and deduct some but not all activities.

Therapy to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body, is deductible as a medical expense. Based upon my understanding of ABA therapy, the premise of ABA therapy would qualify under this test for deductibility as a medical expense.

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