The following guidelines were received from the Oct. 1993 CSA/USA National Conference in Buffalo, NY:
- You can claim only the EXTRA COST of the gluten-free product over what you would pay for the similar item at a grocery store. For example, if wheat flour costs $0.89 per 5 lbs. and rice flour is $3.25 per 5 lbs., the DIFFERENCE of $2.36 is tax deductible. You may also claim mileage expense for the extra trip to the health food store and postal costs on gluten-free products ordered by mail.
- The cost of xanthan gum (methylcellulose, etc.) used in gluten-free home baked goods is completely different than anything used in an ordinary recipe, so in the opinion of the IRS, the total cost of this item can be claimed.
- Save all cash register tapes, receipts, and canceled checks to substantiate your gluten-free purchases. You will need to prepare a list of grocery store prices to arrive at the differences in costs. You need not submit it with your return, but do retain it.
- Attach a letter from your doctor to your tax return. This letter should state that you have Celiac Sprue disease and must adhere to a total gluten-free diet for life.
- Under MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS list as Extra cost of a gluten-free diet the total amount of your extra expenses. You do not need to itemize these expenses.
- You may want to write the Citations (as given below) on your tax return. Always keep a copy of your doctors letter for your own records.
- Your IRS office may refer you to Publication 17 and tell you these deductions are not permissible. IRS representatives have ruled otherwise and this is applicable throughout the US. Refer them to the following Citations:
- Revenue Ruling 55-261
- Cohen 38 TC 387
- Revenue Ruling 76-80, 67 TC 481
- Flemming TC MEMO 1980 583
- Van Kalb TC MEMO 1978 366
It seems like a lot of work to keep track of all the expenses, receipts, price differences, miles, etc. However, the dollar differences do add up and I would estimate one year’s worth of gluten-free products is AT LEAST $1000 more expensive than non-gluten-free products.