Personal Finance

Covid masks and hand sanitizer can get you a tax break, IRS says

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Key Points
  • Americans can deduct medical costs that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income from their taxes each year.
  • Taxpayers can get the tax break for masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and other PPE purchased to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
  • The break also applies to health savings accounts and other tax-preferred savings.

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Luis Alvarez | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Americans can get a tax break this filing season for masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and other personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the IRS announced Friday.

The tax code lets taxpayers deduct medical costs that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income each year. The IRS is counting costs incurred for PPE as a medical expense that qualifies for the tax break.

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For example, individuals with $100,000 of income in 2020 can deduct medical costs of more than $7,500 from their tax bill. You need to itemize on your taxes to take advantage of this.

Expenses reimbursed by insurance aren't eligible.

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PPE costs are eligible to be paid or reimbursed in certain tax-preferred medical accounts, the IRS said. They include health savings accounts, health flexible spending accounts, Archer medical savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements. Taxpayers typically have 2½ months after the year ends to spend unused FSA funds. The December relief law lets employers extend that grace period up to 12 months.