Be aware that although the lower threshold is in place for 2018, the standard deduction has nearly doubled for all taxpayers beginning this year. For example, the amount for married couples filing jointly is $24,000 for 2018, up from $12,700 in 2017.
This means it's less likely that itemizing will give you a bigger tax break than the standard deduction when you go to file your tax returns a year from now.
For your 2017 returns, it's worth exploring the IRS list of qualifying expenses. Although some health outlays might be obvious contenders — i.e., copays, prescription costs — others are more likely to be overlooked.
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For instance, Smith said, some taxpayers don't realize that an elderly person in their care could qualify as a dependent if they meet certain conditions imposed by the IRS.
"If the person qualifies as a dependent, their medical expenses can be rolled into your return," Smith said.
Another qualifying cost easily overlooked is what you spend to get yourself or your dependents to the doctor, whether that's bus fare (or a similar expense) or the mileage on your car.
"It's almost never a big number, but if you're taking care of an ill elderly person who is a dependent, you could be doing a lot of driving around for medical purposes," Smith said.
Remember, too, that long-term care premiums are deductible up to certain amounts, the value of which depends on your age (see chart below).