This is one of the most common questions that our clients will ask.

You should claim itemized deductions if the sum of the itemized deductions is greater than the standard deduction. We have listed 4 of the most common items our clients in Hong Kong have claimed.

  1. Medical and Dental Expenses
  2. Property Taxes
  3. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
  4. Charitable Contribution


  1. What are the major medical and dental expenses deducted on Schedule A?

Below are the most common medical and dental expense deducted on Schedule A.

Medical insurance Insurance premiums for medical and dental care
Surgery Surgery in medical purpose
Eye Eyeglasses, contact lenses, including the cost of maintaining them.
Surgery to improve defective vision, such as laser eye surgery or radial keratotomy.
Eye Exam
Guide Dog or Other Service Animal
Teeth Artificial teeth
Dental Treatment
Other Crutches


  1. Is foreign property tax deductible on Schedule A?

Real estate taxes paid for US property can be claimed on Schedule A for federal tax purposes.

Some states may allow you to deduct foreign real estate tax as itemized deductions such as New York [1] and California[2].

Under the new regulations, foreign real estate taxes are no longer allowed to be deducted as an itemized deduction on Schedule A for federal tax purposes since 2018.

If the foreign real estate taxes are related to rental properties that are reported on Schedule E, the foreign real estate taxes may be able to be claimed on Schedule E. If you have paid foreign tax based on your foreign rental income, you may be able to claim a foreign tax credit.


  1. Are mortgage interest payments eligible to be deducted on Schedule A?

The mortgage interest deduction is eligible for the debts secured by a qualified home which is defined as a house, condominium, cooperative, mobile home, house trailer, boat, or similar property that has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.


Generally, home mortgage interest is any interest you pay on a loan secured by your home (main home or a second home). The loan may be a mortgage to buy your home, or a second mortgage.


There are deduction limits on the mortgage interest paid and details are shown below.


Deduction limits

The date of home mortgage debt
Taken out before December 16, 2017 Single  



Married Filing Joint
Qualifying Widow/Widower
Head of Household
Married Filing Separately $500,000
Taken out on or after December 16, 2017 Single  


Married Filing Joint
Qualifying Widow/Widower
Head of Household
Married Filing Separately $375,000

* If you purchased the residential property under a binding contract that was in effect on or before December 15, 2017, and the home purchase closed before April 1, 2018, the home acquisition debt is considered as before December 16, 2017


  1. What types of charitable contributions are eligible to be deducted?


According to IRC section 501(c)(3), an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes (shown in below table), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Exempt purposes
Charitable Religious
Educational Scientific
Literary Testing for public safety
Fostering national amateur sports competition Fostering international amateur sports competition
Preventing cruelty to children Preventing cruelty to animals


Most of the foreign charitable organizations are not considered as a qualified organization for US tax purposes. Charitable contributions made to a qualified organization can be deducted and a searchable database of tax-exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) is provided in IRS website via


Two Hong Kong organizations eligible for the tax deduction are:

Friends Of Hong Kong Charities Inc.
Kwei Foundation Inc.