Why Do the Blind Get a Tax Break

Many taxpayers are unaware of the deductions the IRS allows for guide dogs. A taxpayer who is legally blind can deduct various expenses associated with a guide dog. These expenses include the purchase of the dog, food, visits to the veterinarian and the costs of training and care. If you are blind and over 65, your savings will increase. Married claimants also benefit from this deduction if one or both spouses are visually impaired. Far be it from me to deny that blind people face difficulties that others do not. But helping blind people through tax legislation has its drawbacks: because it is a deduction, it only helps those who have a positive tax liability. There is no difference between the degrees of blindness or when someone went blind. The combined deduction for blind and elderly persons on line 39a reduced federal tax revenues by $2 billion in fiscal year 2008. Anyone with a field of vision of 20 degrees or less, who wears corrective glasses but whose vision is 20/200 or less in their best eye, or who has no vision at all, meets the legal definition of blindness and is entitled to certain tax deductions. A blind taxpayer is any person in the United States whose lack of vision qualifies them for a special tax deduction for blind people.

Blind taxpayers receive the same standard deductions as taxpayers over the age of 65. The law allows you to deduct what you spend to prevent, diagnose or treat a disease, as well as any costs associated with your blindness or visual impairment. As with any taxpayer, the sum of the two types of medical expenses must be greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income in 2021 before you can claim a medical expense deduction. The special exemption for the blind has created some resentment among people with other disabilities. In the 1970s, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye made several unsuccessful attempts to introduce an exemption for the deaf. Often, blind people incur higher-than-usual costs for eye care, including surgeries, specialist visits, and eye medications. Medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income are deductible if the blind taxpayer lists the deductions. For a blind person who earns $50,000 annually, medical expenses of more than $3,750 can be deducted from their taxes.

Braille reading materials are also considered a medical expense for any amount that exceeds the cost of reading materials other than Braille. Then you need to receive a letter from your ophthalmologist. This written statement confirms that you meet the legal definition of blindness described above. For 2020, $1,650 is the additional amount of the taxpayer blind deduction for individuals who file as singles. For married individuals filing a joint return with a blind spouse, the additional deduction was $1,300. The additional deduction was $2,600 for both blind spouses. You`ll need to take a few steps to claim the blind tax deduction under the law: the Social Security Act of 1935 included a special provision to “help the blind,” the National Federation of the Blind was formed in 1940, and an influx of blind veterans had heightened concern. The tax breaks were intended to reduce the higher cost of living for the blind. People who were blind were more likely to hire guides, readers and taxis. And they often had to live closer to work, which meant they often paid higher rents.

[…] When Congress introduced a standard deduction in 1944 to simplify filing, proponents feared that blind people would be disadvantaged because they could only enjoy their advantage by listing their returns. Four years later, legislators made the benefit (which had been increased to $600) a tax exemption, regardless of how a blind person chose to file their return. The government uses a specific definition of blindness to determine eligibility for job training, rehabilitation, disability benefits and, yes, tax breaks. First, you must claim the standard deduction to claim the tax relief blind to the law. You cannot register your return. Most people already do this. According to H&R Block, about nine out of 10 taxpayers claim the standard deduction each year. The Social Security Act of 1935 introduced financial assistance for the blind. This was likely due to an increasing number of blind people in the country, as wounded veterans of World War I returned home after the campaign. The National Federation for the Blind was founded in 1940.

Foley said a higher standard tax deduction is how Uncle Sam recognizes these costs. “It was the first time the government realized that blind people had extra expenses,” said Foley, who also practices as a tax lawyer with more than 30 years of experience as a blind lawyer. “It`s a way to offset those costs.” In the mid-80s, Reagan`s tax reforms abolished the special exemption for the blind and replaced it with a lower deduction. This year, a single tax filer can add an additional $1,200 to their standard deduction if they are blind or older, while a married tax filer can add $950. The Tax Policy Center estimates that this provision will result in an excluded profit of approximately $13.6 billion. The minimum amount requirements do not apply to blind applicants, nor does the suspension of expenses for non-reimbursed employees. Disability-related labour costs you may have, unless you count them as medical expenses, include the following: You must be considered legally blind on the last day of the previous year to receive the deduction. If you have a disability, you may be eligible for other tax relief, including the Income Tax Credit (EITC) and amortization of medical expenses. For more information, see IRS Publication 3966. Read the rest of the article here. Interestingly, the Blind Liberation Act was passed in 1943 against President Roosevelt`s veto, in part out of gratitude for the work done by blind individuals in the defense industry. Transportation to and from a doctor`s office, prescriptions, insurance premiums and tests are examples of accepted medical deduction costs.

The disability-related elements that apply to blind applicants are: If you are married or in a registered partnership and you are both blind, you will receive a double tax credit. Blind taxpayers are defined by the IRS in Publication 501. Partially blind taxpayers must attach a letter from their doctor stating that even with glasses or contact lenses, they cannot see better than 20/200 of their best eye, or that their field of vision is 20 degrees or less. If this letter indicates that the taxpayer`s vision will never improve, no further letter needs to be sent, and only a reference to the original letter must be included in future tax returns. Otherwise, the IRS will require a new letter every year. “If you use the same software every year, your data from the previous year will often be transferred,” Martin said. “But with the software we use at United Way, you don`t remember that you`re blind for any reason.