Wondering How to Take a Tax Deduction for a Gluten Free Diet? | Tax Deduction Guide for Gluten-Free Products

Tax Deductions for Celiac Disease, Gluten-Free Diets and Special Diets

Tax Deduction Guide for Gluten-Free Products and special diets due to medical needs.Updated to reflect the the latest tax code for medical deductions

Best Gluten-Free Brownies
That batch of gluten-free dairy-free brownies might be worth a tax credit!

If you or your child has Celiac Disease or another medical diagnosis requiring a special diet, don’t forget to talk to your accountant about deducting the extra expenses related to gluten-free products or other specially-purchased items.

Currently, filers can deduct total qualified unreimbursed medical care expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income if they itemize their deductions.

Get more general information about the medical deduction in this article from Turbo Tax. 

The IRS allows you to deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018. The code was revised starting Jan. 1, 2019, when all taxpayers could deduct only the amount of the total unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year if they exceeded 10% of their adjusted gross income. The code was revised again for 2020 and 2021 tax years to 7.5% adjusted gross income. 


Which Expenses Can I Deduct for a Gluten-Free Diet?

If your total medical expenses for the year meet the required percentage of your adjusted gross income, you may be able to deduct the difference in cost between “regular” food products and gluten-free alternatives, as well as the total cost of items that would not be purchased at all if not for the gluten-free diet (such as xanthan gum or sorghum flour, for example), and shipping costs.  When looking at total medical expenses, be sure to include doctor and Rx co-pays, insurance, dental, medical mileage and other expenses that could be used.  Be sure to consult a tax professional about your tax deductions for Celiac Disease costs and tax write-offs for a gluten free diet or other medically necessary diet. 


From the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (Beyond Celiac): Individuals diagnosed with Celiac Disease may be able to receive tax deductions for expenses associated with gluten-free foods and products. However, there are a few catches to obtaining them.

Tips to help you through the procedures and paperwork for special diet tax deductions:

Request an official, written Celiac diagnosis (or other diet requirement) from your doctor.Submit this documentation with your other completed forms (see Step 4). Make sure to keep a copy for your records!
Step 2: Save Your Receipts
Keep receipts of all gluten-free purchases from grocery stores, bakeries and anywhere else you buy gluten-free items.
Step 3: Break Out the Calculator
List the prices of gluten-free foods compared to those of regular foods. The difference between those prices is tax-deductible. For example, if a pound of wheat flour costs $0.89 and a pound of rice flour costs $3.25, then you may deduct $2.36 for each pound of rice flour purchased.
Products like xanthan gum and sorghum flour are completely tax-deductible as they have no “regular” counterpart but are purchased to meet your dietary needs. Shipping costs for online purchases are also permissible deductions.
Step 4: File Your Claim

Fill out form 1040 schedule A for medical deductions.Refer to:

  • IRS Publication 502
  • Revenue Rulings: 55-261, 2002-19 and 67 TC 481
  • Cohen 38 TC 387
  • Flemming TC MEMO 1980 583
  • Van Kalb TC MEMO 1978 366

Feel free to cite these references in your tax paperwork.

This Tax Deduction Guide for Gluten-Free Diets is meant as a guideline. For specific circumstances, contact an accountant or tax professional.

6 thoughts on “Wondering How to Take a Tax Deduction for a Gluten Free Diet? | Tax Deduction Guide for Gluten-Free Products

  1. Thanks for posting this. My Dad was Celiac Disease 10 years ago and it has been a struggle to not only find gluten-free food, but to be able to afford it as well. I'm definitely going to tell my folks about this info.

  2. I tried this last year for my children who are both gluten & dairy-free. I deducted the additional food cost, mileage to their therapies, etc. and still came out better taking the standard deduction. It was a waste of many hours of tracking mileage and food costs in excel. Unless you have a lot of medical bills, it's probably easiest to just take the standard deduction and still come out ahead of itemizing these thing.

  3. My mom is celiac and I am gluten-intolerant. Can this be used for gluten-intolerance as well? Thanks!

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