The endless amount of expenses parents have to pay for can be truly daunting, and diapers are high up on that list. Diapers are generally taxable under the federal income tax system, but you may not have to pay sales tax on diapers, depending upon the state in which you live.
Federal Income Tax
You can't deduct the cost of your child's diapers on your federal income tax returns, which means you'll be paying taxes on the money you spent on diapers. However, medical supplies are deductible. If your child is above the usual age of potty training and requires diapers due to a medical condition, they may be deductible. If you use a diaper service, you can't deduct this cost either, unless you're paying for a diaper service to help treat a medical condition. For example, an older child with a bladder ailment might need a diaper service, and in this situation, the service could be deductible.
State Sales Tax
Many states charge sales tax, but some exempt basic supplies such as diapers. Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are among the states that do not require retailers to charge sales tax on diapers.
Some states tax diapers in an effort to prevent waste or encourage the use of reusable diapers. Wisconsin, for example, charges a tax for the use of disposable diapers, but does not tax diaper cleaning services. Diaper cleaning services are services that clean reusable diapers and return with fresh diapers. You may also pay indirect taxes on diapers. For example, if you're charged for each bag of garbage you use -- as some municipalities do -- you could end up paying more money if you're regularly throwing away diapers.
While you won't be able to deduct your diapers, there are several other deductions new parents can bank on. You and your baby's medical expenses are generally deductible, and you can also deduct supplies associated with breastfeeding, such as a breast pump. Note that you can only deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Parents can also get the Child Tax Credit, which lowers tax payments by $1,000 per child as of 2013. Parents are also eligible for an additional tax exemption above the standard tax exemption. This exemption was $3,900 as of 2013.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.