Tax Answers

March 12, 1994

Here is an answer from members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants to a reader's tax question. The Sun will publish answers through April 15.

Q: My daughter has allergies and so do I. We have a letter from our allergist saying that we should have air conditioning installed and we did. Can I deduct the cost as a medical expense? How do I figure the amount of the deduction?

A: Permanent improvements to your property (in this case air conditioning) may be deducted as a medical expense if advised by a physician and if the primary purpose is medical care. However, the deduction is limited. Put simply, if the increased value of your home (which may be determined by an appraiser) is greater than the value of the improvement, the air conditioning, you cannot take the deduction. On the other hand, if the value of the improvement is greater than the increased value of the house, you may deduct the excess value. In either case, the cost of maintenance and operation of the air conditioning is deductible each year. If window units (not a permanent improvement) were installed, rather than central air (permanent), the entire cost is deductible. Remember, medical expenses are deductible only when they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income and only when you itemize deductions.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary. Consult with a tax adviser for specific advice.

Readers may submit questions by phone, mail or fax. Selected questions will be answered in The Sun and The Evening Sun.

To ask a tax question by phone, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County call 268-7736, in Harford County 836-5028, and in Carroll County 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, enter 6120 after you hear the greeting.

Written queries may be sent to TAX QUESTIONS, The Baltimore Sun, Business News Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Fax questions to the Business News Department at (410) 783-2517. Callers are encouraged but not required, to leave their names and phone numbers should questions need to be clarified. Names will not be published. Questions will not be answered by phone.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.