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Is health insurance considered a business expense?

“To sum it up…”

  • Businesses that must cover employees can deduct the costs of insurance as a business expense
  • Individuals and joint taxpayers can deduct their medical expenses on IRS Form 1040
  • Self-employed persons can use the Self-Employed Healthcare Deduction
  • Employees can use tax advantaged funds to pay medical expenses in a Health Savings Account and reduce taxable income
  • Small businesses that voluntarily cover employees may qualify for tax credits

The tax treatment of health insurance depends on the status of the taxpayer. Individuals and families have specific requirements under Obamacare. For businesses, health insurance for employees is a deductible expense.

Businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer coverage; small businesses that do not have to cover employees can do so voluntarily.

If businesses voluntarily cover employees, they can deduct the expenses. Business owners may not deduct health insurance as a business expense unless they qualify as self-employed.

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The Individual Mandate

The Affordable Care Act mandates that every eligible person must get and keep qualified health insurance. Those that do not get coverage may face the tax penalty for each month without insurance coverage.

Qualified coverage must meet the standards for depth and quality in the law. Qualified coverage must have the below-listed features.

Taxation of Health Insurance for Individuals and Families


Health insurance costs include premiums, out-of pocket-expenses, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Individuals and families can deduct these costs on Form 1040, Schedule A, Medical Expenses. They can deduct the amount that exceeds ten percent of the annual gross income.

Most taxpayers get little or no boost from this deduction because it takes away a relatively large amount of expense and leaves a typically small amount above the 10 percent calculation.

Non-deductible Health Insurance Expenses

There are some health insurance expenses that are not deductible, and these limits are also very useful information when determining business expenses. The rule against double tax benefits is important. Funds that get one benefit cannot also get another.

Funds that get one benefit cannot also get another.

  • Employees cannot deduct any part of premiums or health expenses paid by the employer.
  • Employees cannot deduct premiums paid with tax advantaged funds as this would be a double benefit on the same dollars.

The Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction


Self-employed persons can deduct the entire amount of spending on health insurance premiums and health related expenses without regard to the income threshold for medical expenses on Form 1040, Schedule A.

This deduction is one of the large tax benefits for self-employed persons that can substantially reduce taxation while encouraging comprehensive insurance coverage.

Elements of the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction

IRS publication 535 details the self-employed business deductions for health insurance. The deductions include the below-listed items.

  • Health insurance premiums and expenses for self, spouse, and dependents
  • Qualified long-term care insurance contract
  • Qualified long-term care

Terms and Limits of Self-Employed Deduction


The self-employed deduction is not a business expense deduction. It is a personal deduction that is based on the individual stats of self-employed business owner. The deduction covers many useful items for self-employed people.

It covers premiums for health, dental, and vision insurance. The deduction covers the owner’s spouse or partner, children, and other dependents. The below-listed sections describe the qualifications for the deduction.

– One Can Have No Other Insurance Coverage

The self-employed insurance deduction does not cover people eligible for other coverage that meets the requirements for minimum essential coverage.

  • Eligible self-employed persons cannot be eligible for an employer’s health insurance plan.
  • They cannot have offers from a spouse or partner’s employer -sponsored plan.

– One Must Have Business Income

The business designated as the plan sponsor must show positive income. Businesses operated at a loss cannot support a deduction of any size.

The deduction can come from the income of a single business, and owners may not combine income from two or more businesses to increase the lump sum deduction.

  • One must have income from a business designated as the sponsor of a health insurance plan.
  • The deduction cannot exceed the amount of earnings from the business.

Self-Employment Flexibility


The self-employment deduction is flexible so that one can get the maximum benefits allowed by law. The IRS ruled that self-employed persons can use a personal identity as insurance sponsor or any business they operate as a sole practitioner or proprietor.

The sections below discuss the flexible use of the self-employed deduction.

– Multiple Sponsors

The income limit for the health insurance deduction is the amount earned in the sponsor business. For example, if there were more than one business, then the taxpayer could use a specific business as the sponsor for health, dental, vision and so forth.

In this way, owners can use all of the deductions available rather than limiting deductions to the income from one business.

– Excess Deductions

The medical expense deductions on Schedule A may help taxpayers with excess deductions after applying the to the profits of their businesses.

The IRS rules determine the deductibility of medical expenses, but most ordinary expenses qualify for the self-employed owner, his or her spouse, and all dependents.

Businesses Report to IRS

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Businesses with 50 or more employees and insurance providers must report offers and contracts for health insurance to the IRS. They must certify that the insurance meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS requires reporting of all instances of minimum essential coverage. Employers must also report offers to dependents.

Minimum Essential Coverage

The IRS requires minimum essential coverage for business and employer deductions for qualified health insurance coverage.

The IRS gets reports from insurers and self-funded employer programs on plans that meet the requirements for minimum essential coverage.

For businesses that offer minimum essential coverage, the IRS requires reports of coverage and offers of coverage.

Health Insurance as a Business Expense


Businesses can treat health insurance costs as a business expense and deduct them where allowed to reduce taxable income. Some small firms qualify for tax credits to offset costs of voluntary coverage of employees.

Self-employed persons get to deduct nearly all of their medical expenses and premiums; they do not limit deductions by ten percent of annual income.

The self-employment deduction is a personal deduction, but it affects the solo form of business and offers a powerful way to adjust taxable income.

  1. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/individuals-and-families
  2. https://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-individual-mandate/
  3. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sca.pdf
  4. https://obamacarefacts.com/tax-deductions-for-medical-expenses/
  5. https://www.healthcare.gov/self-employed/coverage/
  6. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p535.pdf
  7. https://obamacarefacts.com/self-employed-health-insurance/
  8. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/0524001.pdf
  9. https://www.irs.gov/uac/about-publication-502
  10. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/employers/information-reporting-by-applicable-large-employers
  11. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/employers/information-reporting-by-providers-of-minimum-essential-coverage