Is Bariatric Surgery Tax Deductible?

Bariatric Surgery Tax Deductible

Many patients considering undergoing bariatric surgery in Mexico ask the question:

Q: Can I claim Bariatric Surgery on my tax return?

A: Yes, bariatric surgery expenses are tax deductible. However, it requires meeting or exceeding certain parameters in order to get tax savings. Most patients will still opt to take the standard deduction. However, combined with additional deductions bariatric surgery (and related expenses) can yeild big federal tax savings.

Bariatric surgery (including gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, revisional surgery) is tax deductible as long as your total yearly health-related costs exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). This would require you to itemize your deductions on your tax return, and not take the standard deduction.

Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.

source: IRS.GOV

In addition, bariatric surgery related expenses: including airfare, hotel, taxi/uber costs, mileage to airport, are tax deductible. It’s important to take and keep receipts so you can get credit for your tax deduction.

Expenses related to food or health clubs, are not deductible. This means bariatric surgery protein drinks and other related food, are not deductible.

Standard vs Itemized Tax Deduction

The most important aspect of bariatric surgery tax benefits come from whether, under the guidance of a licensed tax professional, you exceed the standard deductions:

For 2023 tax returns (those filed in 2024), the standard deduction numbers to exceed are:

  1. $13,850 for single taxpayers and married individuals filing separate returns
  2. $20,800 for heads of household
  3. $27,700 for married couples filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)

Tax Example for Bariatric Surgery


  • Patient’s AGI: $40,000
  • Bariatric Surgery Cost: $4,600
  • Bariatric Surgery Related Expenses: $690
  • Other Yearly Medical and Dental Expenses: $2,400
  • Total Medical and Dental Expenses: $7,489

Medical Deduction Limit: $3000 (7.5% of $40,000) – $7489 Medical Expenses = $4,690 Deduction

Please note in this example, the patient should still opt to take the standard deduction at $13,850 (2023 tax return) if they don’t have other deductions. However, if the patient has other deductions, your licensed tax professional may recommend itemizing your tax return as it presents less tax liability.

Other deductions include mortgage interest, charity, local property taxes, local state income taxes, casualty losses, and more. Refer to Schedule A (Form 1040) for additional information.

Below is an example where the patient’s other deductions add up to tax savings.


Using the same income above:

  • Medical and Dental Expenses: $6,900
  • Local Property Taxes: $3,500
  • Local Income Taxes: $2,890
  • Mortgage Interest Expenses: $4,300
  • Charity: $250

Total Deductions: $17,840 – Subtracting the $3,000 Barrier – Net Deductions $14,840

Which is more than the standard deduction of $13,850, and your tax preparer will likely advise you to itemize to get additional tax savings. Combined with additional deductions, you tax preparer can help you save even more on your federal income taxes.

Tips for Tax Deduction

If you are nearing the end of the year, and you’ve already had bariatric surgery in that year. It makes sense to undergoing additional procedures or major medical expenses (non-elective or cosmetic) you’ve been putting off.

Ensuring these additional medical and dental expenses are realized in the same year will result in potentially more tax savings. These medical and dental expenses will help you exceed the limit of 7.5%, where you can make sure you get the most tax savings.

Take Away

As you see, the determination for getting a tax benefit from bariatric surgery is complicated and requires the guidance of a licensed tax professional. Earning additional tax savings will require some tax planning during the year to help ensure you get the most of your expenses.


Disclaimer: Please consult with a licensed tax professional. This is not legal or financial advice.

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