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