Breastfeeding supplies deductible?
Breast pumps and other lactation supplies are now tax deductible as medical expenses in the U.S.
The new ruling means that families can use pre-tax funds from their flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts for these supplies. Breast pumps typically cost more than $200 and, along with supplies, can run as high as $1,000 in the first year of a baby's life.
Last year, the American Academy of Paediatrics asked the IRS to allow this deduction, but the agency initially refused.
Health experts around the world have agreed that breastmilk
is the best choice for babies when possible given its ability to help ward off infection and prevent chronic diseases.
Pumps are used by mothers whose premature newborns
are too small to suckle but more often by women who are returning to work
but still want to provide breastmilk for their children.
The IRS, in a statement, said the agency changed course after concluding breast pumps were equivalent to obstetric care and affected a woman's body. The rule takes effect for 2010 tax filings, due April 18.
Medical expenses are not deductible until they exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. Since most mothers incur this expense in the same year that they are also piling up expenses involved in pregnancy and childbirth, their total healthcare spending could put them over the top for the deduction.
While the move may not significantly boost pump sales, it could encourage some women who are reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on an electric breast pump and related supplies.
Pump makers include Avent, part of Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, and Energizer Holdings Inc's Playtex as well as Medela, Ameda and Evenflo Co Inc.
Being able to deduct hundreds of dollars in pumps and supplies could benefit those deciding whether to get a pump and continue with breast milk or turning to baby formula.Do you think breastfeeding supplies should be tax deductible?