If your child has autism, you may qualify for tax deductions for expenses related to a prescribed medical diet. Here is some information that may be helpful:
- If you have a letter and prescription from your doctor stating that your child needs to be on a special diet (eg. Gluten-free, Casein-free, egg-free, etc.), you can deduct the difference in the cost of special foods, such as gluten-free or casein-free products if the total amount exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income.
- You can deduct the total cost of products that are specifically used for gluten-free or casein-free cooking, such as xanthan gum or sorghum flour.
- If you make a special trip to a store to purchase foods for your child’s medical diet, the cost of your transportation to and from the store is deductible. If you used your vehicle for the trip during the year 2014, you may deduct 24 cents per mile. You may also include tolls and parking fees.
You can download this excel workbook form for free to help you keep track of expenses related to obtaining foods for your child’s special diet. It automatically calculates the differences in cost, gas mileage reimbursement, and running totals: autism special diet reimbursement form
You will need to complete the IRS form 1040 Schedule A, which can be downloaded here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040sa.pdf
Even if the cost of special foods does not add up to 10% of your adjusted gross income, you can still save money by asking your child’s school to provide your child with alternatives. This can be included in your child’s IEP as well. If you provide your child’s school with a signed letter from your physician, the school has to offer alternatives, and can also modify the texture of the food, thickness of liquids, and even provide adaptive feeding equipment. You can download a template form here: medical-statement-for-gfcf-diet