Whirlpool Therapy Treatments

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Eve Hargrave crushed her hip in a serious car accident. After surgery she regained her ability to walk, but still had significant nerve damage. This causes her to experience severe pain when preforming daily tasks. The doctors stated she will have this pain forever, therefore they suggested she complete whirlpool therapy treatments twice a day. The closest therapy facility is 50 miles away, so doctors recommended for Eve to install the exact whirlpool tub in her house that therapy facilities use. Since these treatments had previously helped Eve with her pain, she made improvements to her home to install the therapy tub, which she strictly uses for her treatments. She had to enlarge her bathroom because the tub was larger than a traditional
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IRC Section 213(d)(1) states that “‘medical care’ means amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body” (IRC Section 213(d)(1)(A)). Treas. Reg. Section 1.213-1(e)(1)(ii) goes on to say, “amounts paid for operations or treatments affecting any portion of the body... (are) paid for medical care…Deductions for expenditures for medical care allowable under section 213 will be confined strictly to expenses incurred primarily for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.” Treas. Reg. Section 1.213-1(e)(1)(iii) states that “a capital expenditure made by the taxpayer may qualify as a medical expense, if it has as its primary purpose the medical care of the taxpayer…A capital expenditure for permanent improvement or betterment of property which would not ordinarily be for the purpose of medical care…may, nevertheless, qualify as a medical expense to the extent that the expenditure exceeds the increase in the value of the related property, if the particular expenditure is related directly to medical care.” In Haines v. Commissioner (1979), Haines fractured his leg while skiing, reducing his ability to walk. Between surgeries his doctor recommended to exercise the leg with physical therapy which included whirlpool treatment, massage, and active and passive exercise. He used friends’ swimming pools before he built his own, and realized that swimming helped his leg. When filing taxes that year, he deducted $13,149.28 of the $19,732.92 of his new swimming pool. The court ruled that for the expenses to be deductible for medical care, they had to be “primarily for” the prevention or alleviation of the illness and “related directly to”
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