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In the US, I'm trying to figure out if membership to my doctor's office is deductible. My office charges a $149 annual fee for access to the office, which allows them to provide good online tools, nice offices, 24/7 care, etc.

But the $149 is not directly tied to a specific medical expense, so I can't figure out if it's deductible (assuming I'm already at the 10% minimum).

The IRS says that Payments of fees to doctors, dentists, ... are deductible, and this is a fee, but it's just not clear.

  • Great question. Google brings up conflicting opinions on this topic. – Ben Miller Feb 27 '17 at 18:46
  • Do you have to be a member in order to see a doctor there, or do you just get certain benefits if you are? – TTT Feb 27 '17 at 23:26
  • @ttt It's a requirement to see this doctor. But of course, I can choose to just go to another doctor, so it's not medically necessary. – Joe Enos Feb 27 '17 at 23:32
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Probably not. Consider the following examples:

  1. The membership fee is $149/year, and all it does it give you access to this particular group of doctors. This is not tax deductible because the fee is not actually applied to any medical service.
  2. The membership fee is $149/year, and it gives you access to this particular group of doctors, and you receive a credit of $149 off of your first bill(s). Since this can be considered "prepaid" services, it would be tax deductible once the service is provided during the next 12 months, but not until then.
  3. The membership fee is $149/year, and if you have a membership you receive a discount of 20% compared to what non-members normally pay. This could also be treated as "prepaid" and thus the fee would not be deductible until you receive service with the discount applied. So a $200 bill becomes $160, but the full $200 is deductible, and then you'd have $109 remaining to deduct for future bills. Once you've received services which have deducted the entire fee you can no longer deduct subsequent discounted amounts. Note that you would not be able to carry any unused portion of the fee into the next membership calendar year.

Your membership fee appears to be case #1, which unfortunately is probably not tax deductible.

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