Tummy tucks and nose jobs will no longer merit federal tax deductions under the new budget plan awaiting President Bush's signature.
Included in fine print of the $490 billion, five-year deficit cutting plan passed by Congress over the weekend is a provision eliminating the current tax deduction for "unnecessary" and vanity-inspired cosmetic surgery. The Senate Finance Committee estimates the move will generate some $269 million in additional tax revenue through 1995.But doctors who perform cosmetic and plastic surgery say the plan will create a morass of paperwork for patients and doctors and spur higher costs for patients, while unfairly branding some important medical procedures unnecessary.
Current law allows medical care expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of an individual's taxable income to be claimed as a tax deduction. The deduction elimination becomes effective Jan. 1.
The IRS has interpreted medical care to include even cosmetic surgery that is generally considered to be elective. Among the more popular cosmetic surgery procedures are: face lifts; liposuction in which fat is surgically removed from the thighs, buttocks or stomach area (sometimes known as a "tummy tuck"); nose jobs; breast augmentation or reduction; and corrective procedures for baggy eye lids.