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An analysis of the medical expense deduction under the U.S. income tax system

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  • Serocki, James S.
  • Murphy, Kevin J.
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    Abstract

    This article analyzes the medical expense deduction based on several years of Internal Revenue Service public use file detailed individual tax return data. The medical expense deduction is allowed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code for individual income taxpayers who itemize their deductions with certain limitations. Our analysis reveals several interesting findings. In particular, change in the limitation for adjusted gross income has had a dramatic effect on the income profile of taxpayers who claim medical expense deductions (while medical expense dollars have increased dramatically). In addition, we find the medical expense deduction has a small but a generally progressive effect across the income spectrum of U.S. taxpayers. Furthermore, elimination of the medical expense deduction would have a modestly adverse effect on income equality.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6W5X-4T5JJ2C-1/2/5c9cd63a1992a7b4a345cee4ab6a8eb2
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.

    Volume (Year): 49 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 343-356

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:49:y:2009:i:2:p:343-356

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620167

    Related research

    Keywords: Medical expense deduction Income tax Distributional impacts;

    References

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    1. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    2. Robert K. Triest, 1990. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Labor Supply in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 491-516.
    3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 11230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul J. Devereux, 2004. "Changes in Relative Wages and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
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