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August 10, 2007
Vitally Important Question

If a doctor prescribes physical therapy, could home gym equipment (Nautilus, Bowflex, what have you) then be tax-deductible as a medical expense?

Followup, 11Aug: While I'm at it, maybe I can get a prescription for a bigscreen TV. I'm not quite sure why a doc might prescribe one, though.

Posted by Russ at 06:36 PM, August 10, 2007 in Health

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A friend of mine successfully wrote off a massage chair. The doc gave him a script for it.

Just for the record, I would never try it.

Posted by: susan at August 10, 2007 06:57 PM

As far as I know, it should be.

Posted by: Ith at August 10, 2007 11:28 PM

Ask your doc to write you a prescription for the equipment. If he's willing and does it, then yes.

My folks did this to get their hot tub.

Posted by: RTO Trainer at August 11, 2007 01:14 AM

"I'm writing you a prescription...not for pills...but a vacation...a vacation from your problems." Dr. Leo Marvin

"A vacaction from my PROBLEMS! Wowie!" Bob Wiley

I'd write you a script for a big screen TV but I don't have an MD. Sorry buddy!

Posted by: Andy Sarine at August 11, 2007 02:50 PM

Yeah, as a general rule the doc would have to be able to show a medically valid reason for it.

Posted by: RTO Trainer at August 12, 2007 08:30 PM

Very simple rationale: improved mental health.

By investing in a 1080p HDTV, you're actually saving society money in the long run. Indeed, not prescribing such a medical instrument would be not only cruel, but tantamount to malpractice.

Remember: if it contributes to mental health care, then it contributes to health care; and if it contributes to health care, then it's a basic right as an American citizen!

I recommended the Philips models, 50" minimum.

A small screen, relative to neighbors or hypothetical-worst-case neighbors, actually worsens mental health, studies show--tantamount to malpractice!

As does a lack of extended warranty.

Posted by: John at August 12, 2007 09:21 PM

John, You're a genius!

But I like our Samsung 56".

Posted by: RTO Trainer at August 13, 2007 01:15 AM

If going to a therapist and using their equipment is a medical expense, then surely buying some equipment based on a doctor's orders would be similar.

Keep in mind the 2% (or is it 3?) of your adjusted income that Uncle Sammy discounts before you can start including medical expenses on itemized deductions. Then you have to consider if you have enough deductions overall to make itemizing worthwhile as compared to the standard deduction. If you're not paying a big mortgage, then the standard deduction is usually greater than the amount you come up with if you itemize.

Posted by: Marc V at August 14, 2007 09:33 AM

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