Kind of weird when the IRS starts getting involved in sexual politics. Nonetheless, Time magazine reports that the IRS has notified the Tax Court that it will abide by a 2010 decision stating that some medical expenses from gender reassignment surgery can be deducted from the patient’s income tax.
The decision ended the case of Rhiannon O’Donnabhain, who wanted to deduct some of the surgical expenses associated with bringing “her anatomy in line with her gender identity,” a request the IRS first denied on the grounds that it was purely cosmetic. That was almost a decade ago.
From Time: “‘There is something to be said when a federal court recognizes general identity disorder as a serious medical condition,’ says Karen Loewy, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the non-profit that represented O’Donnabhain, in an interview.”
O’Donnabhain’s request to deduct breast augmentation was denied, however, because it was considered cosmetic and not disease-treating but, Anthony Infanti of the University of Pittsburgh told Time that doesn’t necessarily mean the same will apply in all future cases.
Infanti found some of the language in the ruling “disturbing,” Time says, saying “It clearly showed how political tax law can be,” he said. “Some of the dissenting opinions were clearly hostile to the taxpayer.” Time also writes that “Tax Court Judge Mark V. Holmes lamented that making gender identity disorder a tax-deductible medical expense drafts “our court into culture wars in which tax lawyers have heretofore claimed noncombatant status.”