Need to Modify Your Home for Medical Reasons? 2012 is the Year to Do It

With tax deduction limits coming for 2013, medically related home upgrades are a smart project this year.

What a difference year makes.
For the 2012 tax year, you can take a tax deduction on medically necessary home improvements ( – like installing a wheelchair ramp and other projects that make life easier for an ill or injured family member – if you:
•Itemize deductions

•Spend more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on the upgrades (10% of AGI if you’re subject to alternative minimum tax).

Starting in 2013, if you’re under age 65, you can’t take the tax deduction on medical expenses until you spend 10% of your AGI. But if you’re 65 or older in 2013, you can stick with the 7.5% AGI tax deduction threshold through the end of 2016.
The rules for tax deductions on medical home improvements are tricky:
1. Start with what it costs to modify your home.
2. Subtract the value the upgrades add to your home.
3. What’s leftover is your tax deduction – if you meet your AGI threshold.
How it works
Say you’re 45 years old and spend $20,000 to put a bathroom on the first floor of your home because your husband can’t climb stairs anymore. Your AGI is $100,000. A REALTOR® says the bathroom adds $10,000 to the value of your house.
1. Start with the cost of the improvements: $20,000
2. Subtract your added home value: $10,000
3. Of that $10,000 difference, you can only take a deduction for expenses that exceed 7.5% of your AGI or $7,500.
So if you itemize, you can take a $2,500 deduction for the 2012 tax year. Wait until 2013 and you get no deduction because your threshold rises to 10%. If you’re over age 65, though, you can claim a $2,500 deduction.
Tip: Doing all your improvements in a single year will help you meet the AGI threshold.
Some of the improvements that you can claim a tax deduction for, according to IRS Publication 502 (, “Medical and Dental Expenses”:
•Entrance ramps for your home

•Grading the yard before building a ramp, or to make it easier to get in your home

•Widening exterior or interior doorways

•Widening or removing hallways

•Installing railings, support bars, or other bathroom improvements

•Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment

•Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures

•Installing porch lifts and other forms of lifts (but elevators generally add value to the house)

•Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems

•Modifying stairways

•Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms)

•Changing door knobs

•Upkeep of medically necessary upgrades, like elevators, and operating costs

•Lead-based paint removal if your child has lead poisoning

•Renovating an existing bathroom to make it handicap accessible or adding a new accessible bath

Will the tax change encourage you to make necessary changes this year?

Have a Great day,

Keith Parrett

Realty World Pigati and Russell
Direct: (925) 580-4650
Efax: (866) 404-4934

License No: 01714500

If you, a friend or family member need Real Estate assistance, please feel free to contact me anytime. Your referrals are the greatest compliment I can receive!

Article From

By: Dona DeZube
Published: April 10, 2012
Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.