NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Before I begin a series of Tax Tips on Itemized Deductions let me tell you what you cannot deduct on Schedule A.

MEDICAL -

  • Health club, gym membership, or spa fees or dues (unless you joined, at your doctor's recommendation, solely to treat a specific condition, defect, or illness diagnosed by your doctor)
  • Electrolysis
  • Diet food, vitamins, or nutritional supplements
  • Cosmetic surgery (unless necessary for medical reasons)
  • Life insurance or income protection policies.
  • Medicare tax withheld or the Medicare portion of self-employment tax
  • Nursing care for a healthy baby.
  • Illegal operations or drugs – the IRS "just says no" to a deduction for medical marijuana
  • Imported drugs not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration
  • Non-prescription medicines
  • Travel your doctor told you to take for rest or to improve your general health
  • Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses

TAXES –

  • Federal income tax
  • Social Security and Medicare tax withheld or paid for household employees, or self-employment taxes
  • Transfer taxes or tax stamps on the sale of property
  • Homeowners association fees
  • Estate or inheritance taxes
  • Charges for water, sewer, or trash collection

INTEREST -

  • Auto loan interest
  • Credit card interest or finance charges
  • Interest on federal or state tax deficiencies or late payments
  • Home purchase interest not secured by the residence
  • Installment loan interest
  • Life insurance policy loan interest
  • Pension loan interest
  • Personal loan interest

CONTRIBUTIONS -

  • Contributions directly to an individual or family, regardless of the recipient's financial or health status
  • Contributions to political or lobbying organizations or election campaigns
  • The value of blood donated
  • The value of your time to perform volunteer services
  • Contributions to non-profit homeowner or condo associations, or social or sports clubs
  • Contributions to foreign organizations
  • Raffle tickets purchased from a church or non-profit organization (they can be deducted as gambling losses if you are reporting gambling winnings)
  • The rental value of the use of a vacation property donated to charity for a "vacation auction"
  • Appraisal fees to determine the value of donated (they can be deducted as a "miscellaneous deduction")

MISCELLANEOUS -

  • Country and social club membership dues
  • Commuting
  • Expenses directly related to non-taxable income
  • Investment conventions, meetings or seminars
  • Legal fees for a divorce (unless related to tax planning or fees to collect taxable alimony)
  • Parking tickets and other fines for illegal acts
  • Travel to stockholders' meetings (except in "special circumstances" such as a proxy fight)

While not deductible on Schedule A, some of the above items may be deductible on Schedule C, E or F if they apply to a business, rental property or farm.

—Written by Robert D. Flach for MainStreet