FEDweek

When Home Improvements are Deductible

Capital improvements to your home may qualify as deductible medical expenses. That might be the case for work done to alleviate a specific health condition.

* Respiratory problems. You might install central air-conditioning.

* Arthritis: Swims in a home pool could be part of the treatment.

* Heart condition. An elevator could ease the strain of climbing stairs.

For these and other conditions, get a doctor’s note, explaining why a capital improvement was necessary to treat a specific medical problem.

Then, get before-and-after appraisals. The amount you spend, minus the increase in your home’s value, will be a medical deduction.

Say you spend $30,000 to install central air-conditioning. A local real estate agent provides a written appraisal, saying that your house, which was worth $250,000 previously, is now worth $270,000 as a result of the improvement. If you spent $30,000 and your house appreciated by $20,000, the $10,000 difference can be used as an itemized medical deduction.