Can musicians deduct massage therapy?

Tax tips for musicians

Volume 114, No. 3March, 2014

Can musicians deduct massage therapy? According to IRS Publication 502, medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes. 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.

Medical expenses include the premiums you pay for insurance that covers the expenses of medical care, and the amounts you pay for transportation to get medical care. Medical expenses also include amounts paid for qualified long-term care services and limited amounts paid for any qualified long-term care insurance contract.

Special medical expenses are deductible depending on the services provided. Payments to anyone who is unlicensed, but provided legal medical care and legitimate purchases on the advice of a doctor to benefit you or your dependents’ health are deductible. Such purchases include vitamins and nutritional supplements prescribed by a doctor to treat a specific ailment. Expenses incurred by what is considered a non medical treatment, such as a massage, must be proven as a legitimate medical deduction by the taxpayer.

So, to answer the question at hand, if massage therapy is prescribed by a licensed physician for a valid reason, then chances are good that it can be deducted.