On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service clarified that personal protective equipment — such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes — bought for the “primary purpose” of protection against the coronavirus are considered tax-deductible medical expenses.

The agency announced the rules surrounding PPE, saying the amounts paid for it are viewed as medical care under the IRS code. That means purchases of COVID-19 PPE for use by an individual taxpayer, spouse, or dependents that are not covered by insurance can be deducted so long as total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income.

Purchases of PPE are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under flexible spending plans and medical savings accounts. Still, they would then not be eligible as a tax deduction, according to the IRS, since such plans and accounts already are typically funded by pre-tax contributions.

Purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2020, are included. These items are deducted from the medical and dental expenses section of Schedule A. The IRS has set up this questionnaire to help you determine if a purchase you made is tax-deductible.

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