Perfume: FSA Eligibility
What is perfume?
Perfume is among the most popular cosmetic products on the market today that is made from a nearly limitless number of ingredients and fragrances designed to impart a pleasant smell onto the wearer's skin or clothing. In most cases, perfume consists of water, alcohol and concentrated perfume oils which have been extracted from plants, flowers and fruits in varying combinations to create fragrances to suit any lifestyle (HowStuffWorks).
Historically, the ancient Egyptians are accredited with the first widespread usage of perfumes, as both males and females wore perfume to perform religious ceremonies or to denote their status as a member of the ruling class. However, it wasn't until the Greek and Roman times when perfume began to be produced en masse. After dying out briefly in the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire, perfume production blossomed into a massive industry in Paris beginning in the 1200s and this continues until the present day.
Why is perfume ineligible for reimbursement?
The IRS annually rules on the potential eligibility of products and services under consumer-directed healthcare accounts, which utilizes a unique definition of what will be eligible for reimbursement under these accounts. Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment and devices. Because perfume is considered to be a cosmetic expense and plays no role in the treatment or prevention of a legitimate medical condition, it is not eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts.