Useful information

Do you know about the “self-medication taxation system” that allows you to obtain an income tax refund?


It is well known that if you pay more than 100,000 yen in medical expenses per year, you can claim a deduction for medical expenses by filing a tax return.
However, did you know that you can also claim a deduction based on the amount of over-the-counter medicines you purchased during the year?
As a special exception to the deduction for medical expenses, there is a tax system called the “Self-Medication Tax System.”
This is a system that you should know about when you start filing your tax returns.

What is the Self-Medication Tax System?

When you buy over-the-counter medicines at a drugstore or pharmacy, have you ever seen “★”, “▼”, or “●” on the receipt?
Actually, these marks indicate that the item is covered by the Self-Medication Tax System.
If you purchase more than 12,000 yen worth of these over-the-counter medicines per year, you can file a tax return and get a tax refund for the excess amount.
Simply put, if you have purchased more than 12,000 yen worth of over-the-counter medicines in a year, you can file a tax return and get a portion of the purchase price back. This self-medication tax system started in 2017.

What does the Self-Medication Tax System cover?

Any and all over-the-counter medicines are covered by the self-medication tax system.
Until 2017, only “switched OTC drugs” were covered by the tax system.
OTC drugs are so-called over-the-counter drugs. Switched OTC drugs are those that have been modified (switched) from prescription drugs to over-the-counter drugs.
Originally, only these switched OTC drugs were subject to the Self-Medication Tax System, but since January 2022, over-the-counter drugs for the following three symptom groups will also be covered: symptoms of colds, symptoms of allergies, and back pain, joint pain, and
stiff shoulders.
The specific items covered by the tax are listed on the website of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Self-medication taxation (income tax deduction system for the purchase of certain medicines)
In addition, in many cases, eligible over-the-counter medicines have a “Self-Medication Tax Credit” logo on the package. When choosing over-the-counter medicines, please pay attention to this logo mark as well.

What are the conditions for application?

There are three main conditions for applying for the Self-Medication Tax Credit.
The first is that your annual purchase of eligible items must be 12,000 yen or more. By the way, you can include your family’s purchases.
The second point is to keep the receipts of your purchases.
You will need the receipt to show that you purchased the item in question. Some people just throw them away, but make sure that you keep them.
The third point is that you must have taken health-related measures such as medical checkups and flu shots.
You do not need to attach the documents of medical checkups and vaccinations to your tax return, but you should keep them at home for five years after filing your tax return.
If you are going to apply for a deduction for medical expenses, you cannot receive a deduction under the Self-Medication Tax System. In other words, you can only use one of them.
Even if you cannot file your tax return in time for last year, the year 2022 has just begun. This year, save all your receipts for over-the-counter medication purchases.