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PPE like face masks and hand sanitizer can be tax-deductible medical expenses, IRS says

IRS delaying 2021 tax deadline until May 17
IRS delaying 2021 tax deadline until May 17 00:27

Personal protective equipment including face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes bought mostly to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus can be deducted as a medical expense when filing taxes, the Internal Revenue Service said on Friday.

The agency made its announcement to clarify the rules surrounding PPE, saying the amounts paid for it are viewed as for medical care under the IRS code. That means purchases of COVID-19 PPE for use by an individual taxpayer, their spouse or dependents that are not covered by insurance can be deducted, so long as total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. 

The PPE covered involve purchases made since January 1, 2020, the agency stated. 

Purchases of PPE are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under flexible spending plans and medical savings accounts, but would then not be eligible as a tax deduction, according to the IRS, since such plans and accounts already are typically funded by pre-tax contributions.

The IRS last month extended the tax filing deadline for the 2020 tax year to May 17, 2021, from April 15, 2021, with the agency looking to "do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement

Individual filers can delay federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year until May 17, 2021 without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed, the IRS said.

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