What you need to know about the gluten-free tax deduction
Did you know that if you or one of your dependents is diagnosed with Celiac disease, you might be able to receive tax deductions for expenses associated with gluten-free foods and products? Filling out taxes can be a tedious process, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the gluten-free tax deduction. Please keep in mind that we’re not CPAs (certified public accountants) and you should consult a tax professional for more information. These resources can help get you started:
Make sure you qualify
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, there are a few important things to keep in mind before you file for this deduction. Tax refunds for medical expenses will be granted only if they are more than 10% of your AGI (adjusted gross income). There are also no double benefits—you’re not allowed to claim a tax deduction for medical expenses paid from your HSA or FSA because purchases made with funds from those plans are usually tax-free.
Check what’s deductible
If you qualify for the “Medical and Dental Expenses” tax benefit, you can deduct gluten-free food and related travel expenses. This includes:
- the cost of gluten-free food that is more than the cost of the glutinous food you’re replacing
- the full cost of special items needed to maintain a gluten-free diet
- transportation (including gas, tolls, and parking fees) to stores to purchase gluten-free foods
- postage/delivery expenses for gluten-free purchases made online
Beyond Celiac, an advocacy organization for those with Celiac disease, also states that “products like xanthan gum and sorghum flour are completely tax-deductible as they have no ‘regular’ counterpart but are purchased to meet your dietary needs.”
Get a doctor’s note
To qualify for the gluten-free tax deduction, you need to receive an official written diagnosis from your doctor stating that you have a gluten-related disorder and must follow a gluten-free diet. This is submitted with your completed tax forms, so be sure to keep a copy on file for your own records.
You can also use your doctor’s note to request reimbursement for the Nima Gluten Sensor through your FSA (Flexible Savings Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account).
Track gluten-free purchases
Save your receipts!
You should have an accurate, detailed record of what you’ve spent this past year on gluten-free groceries, the cost of gas to travel to the grocery store, as well as shipping and handling fees if you’ve ordered gluten-free items online.
To reduce the headache of keeping track of hundreds of gluten-free purchases, check out CeliTax, an app that stores digital copies of your receipts, manages your gluten-free purchases, and saves you time by calculating your estimated tax claim for you.
Calculate cost differences
The premise of this tax break is that gluten-free alternatives are often more expensive than gluten-containing foods. This means you are entitled to “write off” the portion of your expenses that is more than what you might spend if you had to buy gluten-free flours (for example, which can be quite costly) instead of wheat flour. Based on your receipts, figure out what you can deduct and calculate the difference between gluten-free and non-gluten-free products from the grocery store.
File your claim
Remember to itemize deductions on your federal tax return, as you can’t claim these expenses if you select the standard deduction. File your claim by filling out form 1040 schedule A and refer to the IRS for more information on deductible medical expenses.
There’s no question that quite a bit of paperwork is involved in receiving this tax write-off, and with April 17th only a few days away, we know it’s crunch time. Whether this is your first year filing taxes with a Celiac disease diagnosis or you’re already familiar with the process, here at Nima we’re wishing everyone a stress-free tax season.