News Article

Commonly Missed Medical Expenses: Dig for Tax Savings

Posted: April 24, 2018 By: Walter Harder
Posted in: Strategic Thinking

Medical expenses are among the most commonly overlooked tax provisions. But, it’s important to pay attention to unreimbursed medical expenses and to claim them, as they can be used to reduce taxes payable. Don’t miss out on these deductions! Before you file your 2017 tax return, use this checklist of often-missed allowable medical expenses to your benefit.

Remember: For expenses of the taxpayer, their spouse and minor children, the claim is reduced by 3 percent of the claimant’s net income. For this reason, it is often best to claim medical expenses for the family on the return of the lower-income spouse, if they can benefit from the claim. Claims for expenses for other dependants are reduced by 3 percent of the net income of that dependant.

In most cases, medical expenses may only be claimed if they are charged or prescribed by a “medical practitioner.” Expenses incurred for medical treatment by practitioners in the following list, or for prescriptions made by them, may be claimed (so long as the practitioner is licensed federally or in the taxpayer’s province):

Practitioners: Often-missed expenses include payment to:

  • a dentist
  • a speech-language pathologist
  • a chiropractor
  • a naturopath
  • a chiropodist (or podiatrist)
  • an acupuncturist
  • an audiologist

Medical treatments: Often-missed expenses include attendant or nursing home care and ambulance fees.  Also:

  • travel expenses if the patient (and a companion) must travel at least 40 km to receive treatment not available closer to home)
  • alterations to the home for disabled persons (prescribed)
  • lip reading or sign language training, reading services provided under a medical practitioner’s prescription, provided to a blind or learning-disabled person by a person engaged in the business of providing such services
  • cost of drugs obtained under the Special Access Program (these are drugs not yet approved for general use, but which may be authorized for use by individuals under cases of emergency or when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable or are unavailable)
  • medical marijuana or marijuana seeds purchased from Health Canada, or medical marijuana purchased from an individual who possesses a Designated-person Production Licence under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR)
  • tutoring services for a patient with a learning disability or mental impairment
  • private health-plan premiums, including group insurance premiums paid through employment and Blue Cross premiums including travel costs

Also, take note, expenses for any of the following medical devices may be claimed:

  • A wig made to order for an individual who has suffered abnormal hair loss because of disease, medical treatment or accident.
  • An air or water filter or purifier for use by an individual who is suffering from a severe chronic respiratory ailment or a severe chronic immune system disregulation.
  • A device or equipment designed to pace or monitor the heart of an individual who suffers from heart disease.
  • An orthopedic shoe or boot or an insert for a shoe or boot made to order for an individual, in accordance with a prescription, to overcome a physical disability.
  • A power-operated guided chair installation for an individual, that is designed to be used solely in a stairway.

Beginning in 2018, the costs of acquiring an animal specially trained to perform tasks for a patient with a severe mental impairment, in order to assist them in coping with their impairment, will be allowed as a medical expense. Expenses related to dogs not specifically trained for this purpose will not be allowable as a medical expense.

Additional educational resources:

It can really pay to learn more about your tax filing rights. Consider taking a professional introductory tax preparation course to make sure you and your family can benefit from all the tax deductions and credits you may be entitled to. Then use your credentials to help others! Register in (or take a free trial of) T3 Basic Tax Preparation today.



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