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TurboTax Support

How do I choose a claim period for medical expenses?

You can choose any 12-month period for your medical expense claim, as long as the period ends in the current tax year. For example, the earliest possible claim period for the current tax year is January 2, 2019 to January 1, 2020. With this claim period, the oldest medical expense you can claim on your 2020 return is an expense from January 2, 2019.

After you enter your medical expenses, TurboTax prompts you to set your claim period. You can use a different 12-month period each year; your 12-month period doesn’t have to start where your previous 12-month period ended. However, you cannot claim the same expense more than once.

To get the most out of your return, here are some things to consider:

  • Do most of your medical expenses occur early in the tax year, or in the second half?
  • Do you anticipate incurring medical expenses in the early part of the next tax year?
  • Do you have medical expenses that occurred last year that you haven’t claimed yet?

If you have a large amount of expenses in the latter part of the tax year and you anticipate expenses in the early part of the following year, it might be better to save your expenses and claim them in the following year.

For example, if you have a large medical expense from September 15, 2019 that you didn't claim, you can claim it in this year’s tax return by choosing a 12-month claim period that starts on or before the day the expense was incurred and ends in the current tax year. In this case, your claim period could be September 15, 2019, to September 14, 2020. You can claim any expenses incurred in 2020 after September 14 in next year’s tax return.

Related information:

How do I enter my medical expenses?

Can I claim prior year medical expenses?

Three tips for claiming your medical expenses as a tax deduction

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