Figuring out Weight Loss tax Breaks in a World with Donut Sandwiches

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If you remember The Simpsons, perhaps you’ll remember an episode back in the 90s when Homer Simpson planned to get himself on disability insurance. He wanted to work from home, and he learned that he’d qualify for disability if he was able to gain around 60 pounds. So what did he do? He went to the town’s weight gain specialist, and learned that he needed to start cramming the fatty foods, the greasy foods, and the sweets.

Gain Healthy Weight

The Glazed Sandwich

What does this have to do with 2013? Well, Dunkin’ Donuts recently decided to put out an egg and bacon sandwich with a twist: the former English muffin and bagel halves are now a pair of shiny glazed donuts. That’s right; donuts! Dunkin’ Donuts went out with their focus team to figure out what the people were asking for, and according to that team, the people were looking for a little more saturated fat in their diets.

That said, you’ve got to give Dunkin’ Donuts some respect. There are lots of companies out there trying to put out healthier options since the public has become more conscious of fat. However, Dunkin’ Donuts is bucking the trend and going with where they think the money is, which apparently lies with the lard.

However, if you’ve got any plans on trying out this glazed donut sandwich of decadence, you’ll probably want to check out how weight loss costs are treated when it comes to tax refunds.

You see, the IRS had a ruling a while back that it was legal to write off how much it cost to be part of a weight loss program as long as you had a specific disease with a physician backed diagnosis and the program was to treat said disease.

This is because the IRS put two and two together, figuring that since obesity was a disease, you could deduct the costs of treating it with a program. The kinds of fees you can deduct include your startup joining fee as well as the fees that allow you to continue to get into the building to hopefully continue to lose weight.

However, the IRS also ruled that you can’t deduct weight loss programs designed to make you look better or generally healthier. You want to make sure it’s for a specific disease and backed by your physician.

More Drastic Options

If, then, you decide you’d like to have some of Dunkin’ Donut‘s latest offerings, then you might be interested in something like lap band surgery. However, whether you’ll get the tax bonus on lap band surgery or liposuction will depend on that pesky diagnosis. It needs to come from a doctor and it needs to state you’re officially obese and following the treatment in order to get your health back.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to do liposuction electively in the United States, but at the moment, it’s only possible to have lap band surgery through a prescription, which means you need to be diagnosed as obese, which in turn means that you don’t need to worry about it if you’re a patient eligible for gastric bypass surgery.

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  • I think places like Dunkin Donuts have their place, I really do. Extreme foods like a donut sandwich also have their place. However, anyone striving to lose weight shouldn’t be anywhere near those things. It is interesting to see what the US government decides to do about the weight problem though. It seems like they really don’t understand how to provide incentives for people.