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Are payments for a SLE, sober living environment home, a qualifying

Resolved Question:

Are payments for a SLE, sober living environment home, a qualifying medical expense, and therefore tax deductible? This is not a treatment program. It is a transitional home that requires participation in 12-step meetings, sponsor, and roles in the house, under guidance of a house counselor. Residents are expected to work, volunteer in community and/or go to school.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 3 years ago.

LEV :

Hi and welcome to Just Answer!
Here is The IRS position about classifying living expenses as deductible medical expenses - see IRS publication 502 - www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf


You can include in medical expenses the cost of medical care in a nursing home, home for the aged, or similar institution, for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. This includes the cost of meals and lodging in the home if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care.


Do not include the cost of meals and lodging if the reason for being in the home is personal. You can, however, include in medical expenses the part of the cost that is for medical or nursing care.
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.


Thus – if a principal reason for being tin SLE home is to get medical care - all expenses are deductible as medical expenses. If the principal reason for being tin SLE home is personal - only part of payments directly related to medical treatments are deductible medical expenses.
There is no direct yes/no answer - all depend on specific circumstances.

Customer:

the principal reason he is there is for psychological and emotional support after leaving a 4-wk residential treatment program. Otherwise, he could be living at home. We are hoping he will be able to form sober relationships and find employment that will support his being able to live sober. So the medical care is lay support. There are no licensed medical providers at the SLE. Any other details that would help you answer?

LEV :

Sober Living Homes and recovery methodologies might be very helpful. But if these services may be classified as medical treatments for tax purposes depends on the definition above - 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.
If there are no licensed medical providers at the SLE - that doesn't mean these are not medical services - but in case of audit and if the IRS agent disagrees with your classification absence of licensed medical personal would be used as an argument against treatment of your expenses as medical.

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