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Friday, July 20, 2012

Autism and Taxes

Special needs families may be able to claim a tax deduction for certain medical or dental expenses.  See IRS Form 502. (Also check out the proposed ABLE Act.)

Actually getting the deduction not always be quite so simple.

At The Huffington Post, Dafna Maor writes an open letter to the IRS:
I came into your office one winter afternoon pushing a stroller. My 2-year-old son was in it. He had been diagnosed with autism a couple of months earlier. I had to turn in his medical papers so I could get a tax deduction.
I waited in line. The clerks were sitting in booths, serving the citizens by turn.
When my number was called, I approached the booth, pushed the stroller in and tried to sit down in what little space was left. I explained my request and the clerk looked at my papers.
"What is this?" she pointed at the word ASD.
"Autism," I said quietly. The people waiting in line were about seven feet away from us.
 "Wait." She got up and called another clerk, perhaps her supervisor, to come. He stood next to her behind the desk, watching the room. "What is this?" he pointed at the paper.
"Autism," I repeated.
"Ah, autism," he bellowed. The other clerk hunched over the computer and started typing something. He mumbled something to her.
At this point I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Since my son was with me, I was more inclined to laugh. It was really quite comical, as if someone has written a very politically-incorrect skit for Saturday Night Live.