TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sex Reassignment Surgery as a Tax Deductible Medical Expense

Stephanie Chen (J.D. 2012, USC), Note, Examining O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner: Sex Reassignment Surgery as a Tax Deductible Medical Expense, 21 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 603 (2012):

This Note explores and supports the correctness of the O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner decision and argues for extending its reasoning to other areas of the law, particularly in the field of health insurance. Part II defines “transgender” and discusses various forms of discrimination against transgendered individuals. Part III covers GID, sex reassignment therapy, sex reassignment surgery costs, and post-operative issues. Part IV details Rhiannon O'Donnabhain's story and what she went through prior to the O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner case. Part V summarizes and analyzes the O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner majority opinion and dissent. Part VI forecasts the implications of O'Donnabhain, particularly on health insurance, taxpayers, society, and the transgender community, and explains how O'Donnabhain should be used to further guide policy in the law relating to transgendered individuals. Ultimately, this Note contends that O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner was rightly decided, should be explicitly codified by Congress, and should encourage health insurance providers to find GID treatment a necessary, coverable expense.

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