Travel expenses

If you had to travel at least 40 kilometres (one way) from your home to obtain medical services, you may be able to claim the public transportation expenses you paid (for example, taxis, bus, or train) as medical expenses. Where public transportation is not readily available, you may be able to claim vehicle expenses.

If you had to travel at least 80 kilometres (one way) from your home to obtain medical services, you may be able to claim accommodation, meal, and parking expenses in addition to your transportation expenses as medical expenses.

To claim transportation and travel expenses, the following conditions must be met:

  • substantially equivalent medical services were not available near your home;
  • you took a reasonably direct travelling route; and
  • it is reasonable, under the circumstances, for you to have travelled to that place for those medical services.

If a medical practitioner certifies in writing that you were incapable of travelling alone to obtain medical services, you can also claim the transportation and travel expenses of an attendant who accompanied you.

To determine if the treatment you received outside of Canada is an eligible medical expense, see Medical services provided outside of Canada.

If you have travel expenses related to medical treatment and you also qualify for the northern residents deduction (line 255 of your income tax and benefit return), you may be able to choose how to claim your expenses. For more information, see Form T2222, Northern Residents Deduction.

Note

For all expenses, you can only claim the part of the expense that you have not been and will not be reimbursed for. However, you can claim all of the expense if the reimbursement is included in your income (such as a benefit shown on a slip T4, Statement of Remuneration Paid) and you did not deduct the reimbursement anywhere else on your income tax and benefit return.

Meal and vehicle expenses

You can choose to use the detailed method or the simplified method for calculating meal and vehicle expenses. If you use the detailed method, you have to keep all receipts and records for your 12-month period.

For more information and to find out about the rates used to calculate these travel expenses, see Meal and vehicle rates used to calculate travel expenses for 2013.

Accommodations

You must keep receipts for all accommodation expenses and you must be able to show that the amount paid for accommodation is necessary because of the distance travelled and your medical condition. Claim the amount for accommodation as shown on your receipts.

Example 1

Paul lives in St-Hyacinthe and had to travel over 40 kilometres one way (but less than 80 kilometres) to Montreal to obtain medical services because equivalent treatment was not available within 40 kilometres of his home. He had to use his vehicle because no public transportation was readily available.

Paul can claim his vehicle expenses. He can choose the detailed or simplified method for calculating the amount to claim on his income tax and benefit return.

Example 2

Maria had to travel with her son Michael from Sydney to Halifax (over 80 kilometres one way) to obtain medical services for herself in a hospital. Maria's doctor gave her a letter stating that she was not capable of travelling without an attendant.

No substantially equivalent medical services were available near her home, she took a reasonably direct travelling route, and it was reasonable, under the circumstances, that she had to travel to Halifax for medical services. The day after they arrived in Halifax, Maria checked into the hospital for surgery and had to stay for two weeks.

Michael stayed in a hotel nearby and during the day, helped her with meals and personal care at the hospital. Michael drove his mother back to Sydney afterwards.

Maria can claim all reasonable travel expenses for herself and her son while en route to and from Halifax and also for the two week period of treatment in Halifax.

Example 3

Jennifer had to travel from Prince Rupert to Vancouver (over 80 kilometres one way) to obtain medical services. Her husband, Stephen, drove her there. Jennifer stayed in the hospital in Vancouver for three weeks but Stephen drove back to Prince Rupert after dropping her off at the hospital. Jennifer's doctor gave her a letter stating that she was not capable of travelling without an attendant. Equivalent medical services were not available near Jennifer's home, she took a reasonably direct travelling route, and it was reasonable, under the circumstances, for her to travel to Vancouver for medical services.

Stephen came to visit Jennifer once during her three-week stay in the hospital. When Jennifer was ready to go home, Stephen drove to Vancouver to take her home.

Jennifer can claim reasonable travel expenses for herself and her husband for the trip from Prince Rupert to Vancouver and then for the drive back home. However, neither Jennifer nor Stephen can claim any expenses for the trip Stephen made to visit Jennifer in the hospital.

Example 4

Louise had to travel from Vancouver to Minnesota in the United States (over 80 kilometres one way) for medical treatment and her husband accompanied her. They flew there and back and her husband stayed at a hotel for one week while Louise was hospitalized at a licensed private hospital.

During the day, her husband stayed with her in the hospital and helped her with meals and personal care. Louise's doctor gave her a letter stating that she was not capable of travelling without an attendant. No substantially equivalent medical services were available near her home, Louise took a reasonably direct travelling route and it was reasonable, under the circumstances, that she had to travel to Minnesota for medical services.

Louise can claim all reasonable travel expenses for herself and her husband while en route to and from Minnesota and also for the one-week period of treatment in Minnesota.

Example 5

John had to travel from Winnipeg to Germany (over 80 kilometres one way) for medical treatment. He flew there and back and stayed at a hotel for one week while he received medical treatment from a medical practitioner. No substantially equivalent medical services were available near his home, John took a reasonably direct travelling route and it was reasonable, under the circumstances, that he had to travel to Germany for medical services.

John can claim all reasonable travel expenses for himself while en route to and from Germany and also for the one-week period of treatment in Germany.