Emily at Biomedal Diagnostics in Spain
I was excited to meet Heidi at the Chicago GFAF Expo way back in April, and even more excited when she and Wendy of Celiacs in the House joined forces to do a review/giveaway for GlutenTox Home shortly after.
If possible, I’m even more excited now, because I’m going to be writing the occasional post here. For the most part, I’ll talk about gluten detection, how the various tests differ, and how our understanding of gluten continues to develop as the science advances. Although I’m no scientist myself, distributing GlutenTox here in North America has given me plenty of opportunity to learn my alpha- and omega-gliadins.
For this first post, however, something completely different. I talk often about how GlutenTox Home is a Qualified Medical Expense for anyone with a doctor-diagnosed need for a gluten-free diet and an FSA, HRA, or HSA account.
GlutenTox Home as a Qualified Medical Expense
So. What does that actually mean?
These acronyms indicate three different kinds of pre-tax savings accounts. Each allows you to use pre-tax dollars to cover a range of medical expenses (anything from contact lenses to pregnancy tests to dentist visits to lab fees). Because many accounts have a use-it-or-lose-it rule, the end of the year is a great time for people to stock up on qualified supplies.
If you don’t have an account but do pay a fair amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses, it may be worth doing some exploring. To start you off, some definitions from the IRS’ publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans:
A health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) allows employees to be reimbursed for medical expenses. FSAs are usually funded through voluntary salary reduction agreements with your employer. No employment or federal income taxes are deducted from your contribution. The employer may also contribute.
A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) must be funded solely by an employer. The contribution cannot be paid through a voluntary salary reduction agreement on the part of an employee. Employees are reimbursed tax free for qualified medical expenses up to a maximum dollar amount for a coverage period. An HRA may be offered with other health plans, including FSAs.
A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account that you set up with a qualified HSA trustee to pay or reimburse certain medical expenses you incur. You must be an eligible individual to qualify for an HSA.
Of course, there are more differences, including requirements for eligibility and restrictions on qualifying expenses. These are well-covered in the publication, so I won’t go over them here.
When I first began distributing GlutenTox Home, I couldn’t tell if it counted or not. A test kit that keeps people healthy by allowing them to check for gluten in foods…I wasn’t sure.
I read the IRS guidelines, Publication 502, and found that the general rule is to count, “costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” including, “the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.”
Still wasn’t sure, so I emailed the IRS. They wrote me right back (I know, right?!). A partial excerpt:
Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. They do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation.
We assume that the taxpayers are using the GlutenTox Home product to determine the gluten content in their food and drink in order to mitigate their celiac disease…
If the above requirements are met, then the taxpayers are eligible to deduct the expenses they paid for the GlutenTox Home product…
As stated above, taxpayers who use this product to maintain a gluten-free diet that is merely beneficial to general health cannot deduct these expenses.
If the taxpayer’s return is selected for review by the Internal Revenue Service, they would need to provide a written statement from a physician certifying that the taxpayer has celiac disease and can use this product to maintain a gluten-free diet.
And there you have it.
A much-deserved gold star for anyone still here after slogging through this much tax and insurance information. Whether or not you have an FSA, HSA or HRA account, the holidays are a great time to pick up a GlutenTox Home gluten test kit for yourself or a gluten-free loved one.
Special Offer for Readers of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom
From now until December 5, 2011, if you enter the code ADVENTURE at checkout, your kits will ship for free.
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