“First, the IRS announced yesterday that breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies are now tax deductible. That reverses the previous policy, which held that there was not sufficient medical benefit from breastfeeding to warrant deduction as a medical expense….
In a letter written on Jan. 31 but released Thursday afternoon, the agency’s commissioner David H. Shulman noted that because pumps are used “for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman,” they are properly classified as a medical device. Previously the IRS held the position that, as my colleague David Kocieniewski put it in today’s Business section, “viewed breast milk as nothing more than a healthy food — meaning that breast pumps, bottles and pads were no more deserving of a tax break than a vegetable steamer.”
The revised definition, he writes, which is effective for the 2010 tax year:
will allow mothers to use pretax money from their flexible spending accounts to cover the cost of breast pumps and other supplies. Those without flexible spending accounts may deduct breast-feeding costs if their total unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income and they itemize.”