The IRS has very stringent rules and regulations regarding tax deductions, so you want to make sure that you are not requesting a deduction you do not qualify for.
Therefore, we have gathered five common expenses not to deduct from your income tax returns. These expenses include over-the-counter medicine, commuting and transportation, family pets, volunteer work, and plastic surgeries. Just remember that there may be some exceptions that could make these expenses eligible to be deducted from your tax bill, so check with a trusted tax expert before making a final decision.
Over-the-Counter Medicine Expenses
Deducting medical expenses is an important part of your tax return, however, you must be careful when you make this request. Medicine for headaches and cold remedies we buy at pharmacies are not tax-deductible when they qualify as an over-the-counter medicine. The only medicine the IRS considers deductible is medicine prescribed by a doctor. Kits for pregnancy tests and blood sugar levels, breast-feeding pumps, and bottles can also be deducted.
Commuting and Transportation Expenses
Despite popular belief, commuting and transportation costs of getting to and from work are not tax-deductible. Whether you take the bus, train, taxi, or drive your own car, these are examples of personal expenses not to be deducted from your taxes. The only case when you could get these costs deducted is if you have to work at two places on the same day. This rule applies regardless of working for the same employer or not. Also, we can deduct commuting expenses when we move to and from a temporary job, which should not last for more than one year.
Volunteer Work Monetary Value
If you do volunteer work for a non-profit organization, you might think that you would be able to claim the monetary value of the hours you spend with them. Yet, these expenses are not deductible, and we should not add them to our list of deductions for our tax returns. Nonetheless, you can deduct the miles you drive while doing charity work, as long as we use the rate of 14 cents per mile. So you must make sure to keep an accurate record of the miles you drive for charity work.
Family Pet Expenses
Having a family pet can become quite expensive, especially when they get sick and we need to get specialized care for them. These are expenses you should not deduct from your taxes since they still qualify as personal expenses. However, you can deduct the expenses of buying, training, and maintaining a service animal, like a guide dog. These expenses include food, grooming, and veterinary care that enable the service animal to perform its duties.
Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery Expenses
Lastly, cosmetic and plastic surgery costs are other expenses you should not deduct from your taxes. This includes liposuctions, face-lifts, electrolysis, and other cosmetic procedures you might undergo to improve our appearance. You can only deduct this type of expense when your doctor deems the plastic surgery is necessary to improve a deformity from a congenital abnormality, an injury from an accident, trauma, or a disfiguring disease.