Reminder on Disability Tax Deductions for Wheelchair Vans
It's a good time of year to remind you that if you purchased a wheelchair van, a wheelchair lift conversion for your van, or any other BraunAbility product, you could be eligible for tax deductions. Under IRS Publication 502, deductions for "the cost of special hand controls and other special equipment installed in a car for the use of a person with a disability" are allowed. It is referred in this document as "special design" and won't cover the cost of the "regular car," but will cover the difference of a "car specially designed to hold a wheelchair."
Additionally, payments you make to upkeep the vehicle qualify as a medical expense. "You can include out-of-pocket expenses,
such as the cost of gas and oil, when you use a car for medical reasons. You can't include depreciation, insurance, general repair, or maintenance expenses."
To establish eligibility you must have a letter or prescription from a licensed physician. Hopefully, you already have a prescription, because you need it to apply for your mobility rebate. Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, and Ford all offer a rebate of up to $1,000 if you have modified one of their new, eligible vehicles and provide them with the necessary supporting documents. Every mobility program is different, so check with your BraunAbility dealer or with us in our Financing Options.
In most states, the same prescription can be used to exempt your wheelchair van or other vehicle mobility product from state and local sales taxes. Again, check with your BraunAbility dealer. They would be your best source for this information.
My tax information is courtesy of my favorite IRS employee. Jim Stephan, who is also a BraunAbility wheelchair van customer, is the only IRS employee I know. Rather than looking like a fearsome IRS agent, Jim looks more like a mild-mannered accountant. His wife, Jill, is also a BraunAbility customer.
I was around Jim for years when we played on the same wheelchair basketball team, and later on opposing teams. When people find out he works for the IRS they usually ask him for tax advice. His stock answer on taxes? "Pay them!"
Taxes are not always easy to navigate alone. Another good piece of advice is always to consult with a tax professional to make sure you are applying this deduction properly and find out if you are owed any other deductions, including medical travel.
Knowing what you do now, a wheelchair accessible conversion or other mobility vehicle equipment can be a huge benefit to you and your family. When it takes the place of a vehicle you currently own, the costs of your day-to-day travel associated with doctor visits, treatments, and therapy such as fuel, parking fees, and tolls are all tax deductible. And even other mobility equipment like ChairToppers, mobility seating products and wheelchair securement products are all eligible for tax deductions.