Ah yes, the wonderful tax season is upon us. If you have a child with Autism then you have potentially more work to do in preparing for tax day. Here are some things to think about when gathering up receipts.
1) GFCF Diet - if your child needs to be on a GFCF diet, you can deduct the difference of costs of items. For example, if your child eats GFCF bread that costs $4.99 per loaf and the average cost of a loaf of bread is $1.99 you can deduct the difference, $3.00 per loaf. A spreadsheet is VERY helpful, you put in the cost difference, then tally up the number of loaves and it will do the math for you. Then it will total the entire sheet with all your items. Things like Xantham gum (which is used because the flours we use do not have gluten) is 100% deductible. That is nice since even a small container of Xantham gum is about $10. TACA NOW has an example sheet for your reference if you need it. Get a note from your doctor stating medical necessity just in case you need one.
2) Out of pocket medical costs (duh). Just a reminder, if you do not have a medical flex spending account (or you are like us and always max it out before the year ends) any out of pocket costs can be deducted. Make sure you do not deduct any premiums that are taken out of your check pretax - that is double dipping and a no-no.
3) Mileage!! YES!! If you are like me, you drive A LOT to therapy and special schools. You get 20 cents per mile. What I do to make things easier is I have a chart (again in Excel) that has the mileage for that location (for example - speech therapy). I take out my calendar for the year and count up all the trips to speech and put in the number, Excel does the rest and tallies up the miles. You do that for each (including trips for doctors appointments too!) and you get your total miles.
4) Conference registration fees! If you attended any conference with the purpose of learning more about ways to treat your child's Autism, you can deduct the mileage and cost of the conference fees. I don't believe you can deduct the hotel or meals but still, its better than nothing.
5) Trips to see doctors out of your area. You can deduct mileage and I think hotel to see doctors out of area.
6) Supplements. If you have a note from your doctor that states your child needs supplements for biomedical treatments, you can deduct these off your taxes. YIPPEE! If you are like me, you could use a full time job to pay for supplements. As if you have the time or energy for another full time job (in addition to all the medical billing, supplement ordering and giving and therapy management that you already do in addition to caring for your family as a whole!).
I am NOT a tax professional, just a mom who has to keep track of all of this stuff! So, please double check this info with your tax professional or IRS tax codes. Medical costs have to be over 7.5% of your income to count towards Federal Taxes but at least you can deduct from your State taxes. Something is better than nothing. Even though it takes a little more extra work, I think every family with a child with Autism can use every penny they can get back!! So save your receipts, save your insurance claim EOBs and save all your spreadsheets in case you need them later. I think every family should get a huge filing cabinet and endless manila folders with their diagnosis. Goodness knows huge amounts of paperwork will be a part of our lives from that day forward!