With all of the purchases employees can use their flex spending accounts for, it’s a bit surprising that these expenses didn’t make the list.
The IRS has ruled that employees can’t use flex accounts to pay for breast pumps and other nursing supplies related to breastfeeds.
Reason: The IRS has ruled that breastfeeding doesn’t carry enough overall health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care. Therefore, breastfeeding supplies can’t be purchased tax-free using flex accounts.
It also denied a request from the American Academy of Pediatrics to reclassify breastfeeding costs as a medical care expense.
At the center of the IRS’s ruling is the fact that the agency considers breastfeeding an activity that promotes nutrition. And IRS code considers nutrition a necessity, not a medical condition.
From this point of view, allowing mothers to use flex account funds for breastfeeding expenses would be like letting employees get a tax break on wheatgrass shots.