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Tax prep tips for medical bills

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Tax prep tips for medical bills
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With tax season upon us, people are taking a close look at their expenses and if one of your major expenses this past year was medical bills, you may be able to write that off. YNN's Iris St. Meran breaks down the numbers and tells us about upcoming changes set to take place after this year.

UNITED STATES -- If you visited the doctor last year, you probably had a co-pay or possibly had to fill a prescription. Or maybe you had surgery. Either way, those costs add up. And for some of you, could amount to a deduction when filing your income tax.

Tax preparers say only certain things can be written off.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service General Manager Clarissa Stallknecht said, "It's got to be after tax dollars. You can't use your medical insurance that's pre-taxed. And it has to be medically required. It can't be vitamins or things over the counter. It has to be prescribed by a doctor if it's any medications."

The requirements can include dental expenses, crutches, hearing aids, glasses, lab fees and mileage to and from the doctor and pharmacy. But in order to write any of that off, it has to add up to 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. So if you make $30,000, your medical expenses have to at least total $2,250. And there are other factors to consider.

"You also have to have enough itemized deductions,” Stallknecht added. “Not just medical, but you have to have taxes, home interest, charitable contribution, any business expenses that total up over your standard deductions before it does you any good."

And if you don't have enough itemized, it is unlikely you'll be able to write off your medical expenses.

Next year, it will be harder to meet that criteria because medical expenses will have to be at least 10 percent of adjusted gross income for people under 65-years-old. Stallknecht says in the past it was not as challenging to meet the criteria.

"A lot of people had homes, a lot of business expenses and also a lot of charitable contributions. Where now the standard deduction is higher because they got away with the marriage penalty and people don't meet it," said Stallknecht.

Whatever your expenses are, one helpful thing to do is to already have your expenses totaled for 2012 before you go to your tax preparer. And you can do that by checking your credit card statements, bank account and even with your pharmacy.

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