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Tax Time Guide: Deducting Breastfeeding Supplies, FSA, and other Tax Breaks for Parents

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"The IRS has concluded that breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are medical care...because, like obstetric care, they are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman."

Did you ever think you'd want to fist bump the IRS? I did when I found out that my breast pump and supplies could be taken off my taxes. Any time a government institution steps up to support breastfeeding, I get pretty excited!

Here it is, straight from the IRS’s guide on medical expenses: “You can include in medical expenses the cost of breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation.”

Having a baby is expensive. With the tax break for nursing moms, you'll have more money to put toward your child's other needs. Even if you aren't breastfeeding, there are a few avenues to help parents save some dough:

1) FSA

If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), pre-tax dollars can be used to help cover the cost of breast pumps, as well as other lactation supplies. If you don’t have an FSA, or if you maxed it out with other expenses, the next section is for you.

2) Deductible Lactation Support  

If your out-of-pocket medical costs for the year exceed 10% of your income, you can deduct them! 10% may not sound like a lot, but these expenses can really add up, especially in your baby's first year. Think breast pump/equipment, storage bags, nursing pads, prenatal/postnatal classes, lactation consults/workshops, trips to the pediatrician, etc. Even little things like nipple creams and special bras may be applicable if used for medical reasons.  

3) Child-Tax Credit

This one has been around a while, but new parents may not be aware. For each dependent child, take $1000 off your taxes. Boom. It's basically that simple, but here are the details.

4) Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you qualify, you can get up to $3,000 per child off your tax bill for any expenses related to having a care provider watch your child. The care provider must be a person or organization with a social security or taxpayer ID number, and the lower your income, the higher the credit amount is. Read more about this credit here.

Of course, we aren't accountants and there are many more specific rules and details that apply to these credits. Who knows, there may well be even more breaks available to you! We recommend you try and meet with a professional accountant, regardless of your income level, as parents generally don’t know what is out there and available to them. 

Good luck, and happy taxing!

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