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Monday, February 12, 2007

Those pesky doctor visits!

And yes, I know, not only am I behind on my blogging, but I'm behind on my tax tip. Tonight, you get two for the price of one. Oh yeah, I don't charge.

Anyway, I got off work Saturday and pretty well collapsed. I nearly killed a guy I work with. Everyone started leaving, and there was still a huge pile of work left, so I asked him to stay and help (which would have taken him ten minutes). He looked at me and said, "I've worked twelve days straight, I'm out of here." Which, on one hand, I understand-he was tired. But you know, I'd worked more days in a row, and I was tired too. And basically, because he and a few others didn't have enough of a work ethic to stay and help me finish some work that was everyone's responsibility, rather than everyone staying ten minutes late, I stayed an hour. I came home, loaded up the fam to go out for dinner. (And oh MY, it was REALLY good!)

I fell into bed after dinner, and didn't leave until Sunday afternoon. I know, I'm a sluggard. Did I mention I was exhausted? Ran a few errands on Sunday, and went back to bed. :)

You'd think that would be a happy ending to the weekend, however, just as I reached that blissful state of drifting off, and the baby began screaming. I spent the night off and on comforting screaming baby, losing all the make-up sleep I'd gotten. She finally fell asleep at dawn.

So this morning, I called the doctor, and we got to pay our first visit for being sick, as opposed to well-baby checks, or visits because she did something to injure herself. The diagnosis-ear infection. Wahoo us.

Anyway, it reminded me of an important tax tip I frequently share with my clients. When deducting your medical expenses, are you also including your mileage? For the past two years, we didn't have enough medical expenses to deduct. Until I added in the mileage. 18 cents a mile adds up. One of my clients, who lives in a rural area, had over 4,000 miles because she has to see a specialist in the big city. That's a BIG deduction. But, you say, I don't have that many miles. Are you sure? I live 12.6 miles from my doctor. Round trip, that's 25 miles. Four doctor visits, and that's 100 miles. Between me and the kids, we easily do 10 doctor visits a year. When I was pregnant, or they were babies... we did a lot more.

"But I don't keep a log," you whine. And your point is? Allow me to teach you how to re-create a mileage log. Go to mapquest. Put in your address and get directions to your doctor's office. Along with the directions, you'll get the mileage. Now go through your day planner. Count the days you went. Or, if you don't keep track on the planner, you can look at your bank records-the days you wrote a check for a copay, you probably went to the doctor. But if you want to be really sure, most doctors are happy to give you a year-end printout itemizing all your visits. Then, multiply the number of days you went to the doctor by the mileage (don't forget return mileage), and badda bing! You've got medical mileage to deduct.

Don't forget to keep the mileage info and formula you used with your tax records. That way, if you get audited (and many audits are completely random), you've got it right with your return and you don't need to scratch your head to figure out how you came up with those numbers.

And now I'm going to bed. Maybe I can catch up on sleep tonight.


rindy said...

Thanks! I started doing this a few years ago and was amazed at how fast the mileage added up!

Danica/Dream said...

Rindy, I was too! It's saved me quite a bit!