In Uncategorized on 03/01/2017 at 16:02

Sounds a wee bit counterintuitive, no? Well, it did to STJ Lewis (“Say It Loud”) Carluzzo in today’s off-the-bencher.

Turns out Section 213 is sufficiently wide to cover the unconventional, but nevertheless deductible, medical expenses of Victoria Malev, Docket No. 1282-16S, filed 3/1/17.

Everybody agrees that Victoria suffers from at least one spinal condition. Chiropractic only helps partially, and, in a diagnosis made three years after the year at issue, her own MD says surgery is at best a “maybe.”

But her MD does recommend “integrative medical care.”

“According to Duke University, ‘Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental  influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.’” Order, at pp. 4-5.

All I can say is that, when I was a patient at Duke University, they didn’t ask about my “emotional, mental, spiritual and environmental influences.” They just operated and saved my life. As Grandma would have said, “Frag nisht.”

But apparently the Duke University idea gets Victoria her deductions, and a Taishoff “Good job” to her attorney Lawrence A. Sannicandro, Esq., of that well-known firm, sometimes herein and elsewhere referred to as The Jersey Boys.

The magic word here is “heal.”

“The word ‘heal’ in the above definition is critical here, as an expense paid by a taxpayer for ‘healing services’ directed towards any structure of the body may be deducted as a medical expense. See sec. 1.213(e), Income Tax regs. That regulation is promulgated under section 213(a), which in relevant part, and subject to various limitations, allows ‘as a deduction the expenses paid during the taxable year, not compensated for by insurance or otherwise, for medical care of the taxpayer.’” Order, at p. 5.

Nothing in Section 213 or the regs require the treatment be supplied only by licensed professionals, or be generally accepted, or be given in person rather than remotely (, anyone?), or even be effective. In fact, STJ Lew has as much to say about what Section 213 and the regs don’t say, as what they do.

“Concerned that conventional treatments for her condition posed too much risk, or were or would be ineffective, Petitioner subscribed to various forms of treatment from four individuals, none of whom would be commonly recognized as a conventional medical caregiver. And to be sure, none of the methods utilized by these individuals would commonly be recognized as a conventional medical treatment. The methods Petitioner subscribed to might be termed ‘alternative medicine’ by the polite, but we expect the less tolerant would characterize the treatments in other than legitimate or complimentary terms.” Order, at p. 6.

It would have helped Victoria had she gotten the diagnosis before the treatment. It seems to undermine her case that she needed to seek out her own MD if the alternative treatments did the job. And I note the diagnosis post-dated the SNOD here.

“In reaching our conclusion we consider: (1) the literal language of section 213 and its underlying regulation, which speak in broad terms; (2) Petitioner’s sincere belief that the expenses she paid for the treatments she received were directed to cure or mitigate the symptoms of her spinal disease; (3) the expenses incurred by Petitioner for the treatments she received were not of the type that an individual would routinely incur for non-medical reasons; (4) nothing in the record suggests that the relationship between Petitioner and any of the four individuals whom she paid for the services was other than professional; and (5) this Court’s recognition that expenses paid for ‘alternative medical’ treatments can be deducted as a medical expense under section 213. See Dickie v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1999-138; Crain v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1986-138; Tso v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1980-399.

“Taking all of the above into account, along with the evidence introduced at trial but not referenced in this bench opinion, we find that Petitioner is entitled to the medical expense deduction claimed….” Order, at p. 8.

So, even though STJ Lew is dubious, to say the least, about the actual efficacy of Victoria’s treatment, not to say the probative value of the post-treatment diagnosis by her own MD, the deduction stands.

Lest the Jersey Boys trot out their Section 7430 fees-and-admins motion, STJ Lew has a curb for their enthusiasm.

“…in closing we think it appropriate to note that we fully appreciate the position taken by Respondent in this case, and consider that position to be more than justified.” Order, at pp. 8-9.

Remember David Seville’s 1958 hit song, which featured the words “ting tang walla walla bing bang.”

And see my blogpost “Not Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,” 8/28/13.



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