Former construction worker and Coast Guard employee Rhiannon O’Donnabhain is suing the Internal Revenue Service after she was disallowed from deducting $25,000 in medical expenses for her sex change operation.The IRS claims the operation was cosmetic surgery and not a medical necessity. In another case in 2005, the IRS Chief Counsel made a similar determination. However, the United States Tax Court has not ruled on any similar cases, and its decision could set a precedent.
O’Donnabhain’s attorneys argue that she suffered from gender identity disorder, a medical condition usually treated with either hormones or surgery, so her medical expenses should count as legitimate deductions.
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