04 February 2010
Quelle coincidence! Last week, I metioned Rhiannon O'Donnahbain's fight to claim her SRS and related expenses as IRS deductions. Back in 2007, after losing her case, she filed an appeal. Finally, the other day, a US Tax Court ruled in her favor, saying, in essence that Gender Identity Disorder is actually a debilitating disease and the surgery and other transition-related treatments are necessary to cope with it.
I first learned of this decision from the blogs of A.E. Brain and Diana. (You can read the decision on this PDF file.) Soon afterward, I called the IRS to find out whether I could file the same deduction on my tax returns. The rep with whom I spoke admitted that she didn't know about the decision until I called; that's probably true for any number of other tax professionals. However, she promised to talk to one of their specialists in medical deductions and her supervisor to find out not only whether I can take the deduction this year, but also what documentation I will need to do so.
One commentator said that the ruling will not only put trans people on a more equal footing with everyone else; it could pave the way for having the surgery and related treatments covered under medical insurance. That may well be, and I hope it comes true for the trans people following me. To my knowledge, the only insurance that covers most or all of the cost are the policies given to employees of San Francisco city and county, and the state of Minnesota.
Speaking of money: I am so happy that Ms. O'Donnahbain fought and got her settlement. However, I wonder how much time and money she invested in lawyers: After all, the latest verdict has come almost a decade after she had her surgery.
Well, I guess it was a good thing I didn't start to do my taxes last weekend. And it's kind of ironic to hope that the IRS contacts me soon. But, stranger things happen all the time.