IRS Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses (for 2022 Returns)); IRS Publication 503 (Child and Dependent Care Expenses (for 2022 Returns))
The IRS has released updated versions of Publications 502 and 503 for the 2022 tax year. Publication 502 describes the medical expenses that are deductible by taxpayers on their 2022 federal income tax returns. Publication 503 explains the requirements that taxpayers must meet to claim the dependent care tax credit (DCTC) under Code § 21 for child and dependent care expenses.
The 2022 version of Publication 502 is substantially similar to its 2021 counterpart. Reflecting prior guidance (see our Checkpoint article), personal protective equipment (e.g., masks, hand sanitizer, and hand sanitizing wipes) for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is now included in the list of medical expenses. Clarifications have been added regarding expenses to treat excessive use of alcohol and drugs, and relevant dollar amounts (e.g., the standard mileage rate for use of an automobile to obtain medical care) have been revised to reflect their 2022 inflation-adjusted values. Publication 502 has also been revised to reflect that the health coverage tax credit (HCTC) is not available after 2021. Publication 503 has been revised to note that most of the temporary changes to the DCTC and DCAP rules that were provided as COVID-related relief are no longer available, and to delete references to those changes. It also references prior guidance under which DCAPs could be amended to allow unused amounts from 2021 to carry over to 2022 (see our Checkpoint article).
EBIA Comment: Publication 502 provides valuable guidance on what qualifies as a medical expense under Code § 213(d), and thus helps identify the expenses that may be reimbursed or paid by health FSAs, HSAs, or HRAs, or covered on a tax-favored basis under other group health plans (e.g., employer-sponsored medical plans). But Publication 502 should be used with caution in connection with these benefits because it addresses the deductibility of medical expenses—it does not account for differences in the rules for reimbursing expenses under health FSAs, HSAs, or HRAs. Likewise, Publication 503 is written primarily to help taxpayers determine whether expenses qualify for the DCTC. While similar requirements must be met for expenses to be reimbursable under a DCAP, caution is advised when consulting the publication for DCAP purposes because there are some differences. For more information, see EBIA’s Cafeteria Plans manual at Sections XX.D.7 (“Other Guidance Regarding What Is Medical Care: Caution Regarding IRS Publication 502”), XX.D.8 (“Distinguishing Deductibility From Reimbursement of Medical Care Expenses (and Why It Matters)”), XX.M (“Table of Common Expenses, Showing Whether They Are for ‘Medical Care’”), XXIII.C (“DCAP Participation vs. Claiming the Dependent Care Tax Credit”), and XXIV (“What Expenses Can Be Reimbursed Under a DCAP?”). See also EBIA’s Consumer-Driven Health Care manual at Sections XV.B (“HSA Distributions Are Tax-Free If for Qualified Medical Expenses”) and XXIV.B (“HRAs May Reimburse Only Code § 213(d) Expenses”), and EBIA’s Self-Insured Health Plans manual at Section VI.B.1 (“Only Code § 213 Medical Care Receives Favorable Tax Treatment”).
Contributing Editors: EBIA Staff.