Probably the greatest aggravation comes in pulling together those expenses that would qualify for medical deduction. You would think that “medical” would be a major category; but this is not the case. So far I have found three separate categories, each of which contribute to my medical expenses. “Pharmacies” is a subcategory of “Merchandise & Supplies” (which you cannot see on the online summary sheet, because the space for subcategories runs out when it collides with the “Total” line, meaning that the last subcategory you see is “Clothing Stores”). “Health Care Services,” on the other hand, is listed under “Business Services” (which is consistent with our “industrial” view of health care). Finally, Medicare payments show up in “Government Services,” which is a subcategory of “Other.” The bottom line is that I have to do my own filtering from the summary to get the numbers I need. The good news is that at least I can use the search tool on the PDF version and see each of my results in its appropriate context.
That “Other” category is also a source of amusement. My biggest single American Express charge every year is the renewal of the San Francisco Opera subscription for my wife and myself. I was thus amused to see that my grand total of “Entertainment” expenses was $0.00. It turns out that the Opera charge was classified under “Other” in the “Charities” subcategory. I’m not quite sure how the Opera would feel about this classification. One thing is certain: Anyone who thinks that they can just copy numbers from this form into their tax returns will probably be opening themselves up for an invitation to an audit! Do we take this as a sign of what American Express thinks about their clients these days?