IRS: Masks, sanitizer bought to fight COVID-19 can be deducted from taxes

The IRS said Friday that taxpayers can deduct the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from their taxes.

In a Friday announcement, the IRS said that taxpayers who’ve spent at least 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income on PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes “for the primary purpose” of curbing the pandemic can deduct those costs from their taxes.

“Amounts paid for personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 PPE) are treated as amounts paid for medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code,” the IRS said.

The IRS also said that taxpayers can use funds in tax-exempt health savings accounts, Archer medical savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements and health flexible spending arrangements to pay for PPE used to stop the spread of COVID-19.

These provisions apply only to PPE-related expenses not covered by the cost of insurance incurred since Jan. 1, 2020. The IRS had previously extended the deadline to file 2020 taxes to May 17.