IRS Announces That Breast Pumps Will Qualify as Medical Care Expenses03/04/2011
The IRS has ruled the cost of breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation will be tax-deductible and qualify as medical care expenses under Code Section 213(d) because they are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the lactating woman's body. The ruling means that women will be able to use money set aside in pretax spending accounts (health FSA or HRA, or for a tax-free distribution from an HSA) to buy the pumps and related equipment. For women without flexible spending accounts, the cost of pumps will only be tax deductible if their total medical costs exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.
In the past, plans treated breast pumps as dual-purpose expenses that could only be reimbursed if the participant provided a note from a medical practitioner recommending the breast pump to treat a specific medical condition (e.g. a breast abscess). The new guidance allows these items to be reimbursed, regardless of the existence of a medical condition.
FSA participants may submit claims for breast pumps and supplies for reimbursement from their FSA for the current plan year or during the run-out period for the prior plan year if they have a remaining balance.
IRS Announcement 2011-14 (Feb. 10, 2011) is available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/a-11-14.pdf