Updated: May 15
Prescriptions, dental work, massage therapy, clinical counseling, travel for medical purposes - all of these expenses are non-refundable tax credits that you can claim to reduce the amount of tax you owe at the end of the year.
For the full (searchable) list of allowable medical expenses, check out this page!
This is not an exhaustive discussion of the full (and complicated) tax law on the subject - just a few explanations and a couple of tips.
Who can claim?
All of the family's medical expenses can be combined and the tax credit assigned to the return that will do the most good. An individual can also claim the medical expenses of another person if they have paid those medical expenses. For example, a parent who has paid expenses for an adult child can claim that amount. Of course, special rules exist.
How much can be claimed?
The amount that can be claimed requires a bit of mathematical gymnastics - but most tax software can handle that for you. In a nutshell, a taxpayer can claim the total of the eligible expenses, less 3% of their net income (or $2,479, whichever is less). If you only have a few receipts, you might not have enough to qualify, but let us figure it out for you!
For when can I claim them?
This is a tricky bit. The CRA states "You can claim eligible medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in [the current tax year] and not claimed by you or anyone else in [the previous tax year]." What this amounts to in practice is that if you have large expenses in part of one year and early in the next, you can set your 12-month-period to encompass the largest amount of eligible expenses, as long as they have not been claimed before and the last expense is in the current tax year. But let us handle all of this for you!
What is the best way to submit my receipts?
If you have a lot of prescriptions, you can ask the pharmacy to print off a summary of the year, which will include all of the information needed for your tax return and save a lot of time - and it ensures you don't miss any! Also, if you have a medical plan with your work, you should be able to print off summaries that show all of your medical claims and the amounts that you paid out of pocket. You can also ask your dentist for an annual summary.
What else do I need to know?
Honestly, the CRA has a lot of rules and regulations around medical expenses. You can read the whole shebang here -- or come in to see us and we'll help you understand how your specific situation works.
The CRA Review
One of the elements that the CRA flags for in a pre- or post-assessment review of personal taxes is a large amount of medical expenses. Our practice is to make sure we scan medical receipts for clients, so that if and when the CRA sends a review letter, we're ready with the information to upload to them with no hassle at all!
For more on the CRA review, check out this blog post.
We're here for you to help!