Transcript - Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities, Segment: Medical expenses

Host: Welcome to the segment called Medical expenses, part of the CRA's Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities video. The information in this segment is mainly for persons with a disability and the people who support them.

With me is Nicole Belanger.

Welcome, Nicole.

Subject matter expert: Thank you, Kathleen.

Host: The CRA administers a number of tax deductions and credits that help persons with disabilities. For example, they can claim medical expenses on their tax return. Nicole, what is an eligible medical expense?

Subject matter expert: An eligible medical expense is an amount you paid for medical care and that you can claim on your income tax and benefit return.

Some eligible medical expenses that you may claim are: payments to a medical practitioner, amounts paid for prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, and the cost of prescription drugs.

For a complete list of eligible medical expenses, go to www.cra.gc.ca/medical. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Can I claim medical expenses for everyone living in the same household?

Subject matter expert: You can make two different medical expense claims. First, on line 330 you can claim the total of all eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for yourselves or your children who were under 18.

Host: What if I paid the expenses for my husband's children who were under 18?

Subject matter expert: The CRA will also accept claims at line 330 if the eligible medical expenses were for your spouse's or common-law partner's children if they were under 18.

Host: And can I make a medical expense claim for any other dependants?

Subject matter expert: Yes. The second claim that you can make is on line 331 for the part of the eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for your children who were 18 or over, or your grandchildren.

Host: What if the medical expenses were for my husband's children who were over 18?

Subject matter expert: The CRA will also accept claims at line 331 if the eligible medical expenses were for your spouse's or common-law partner's children who were 18 or over, or grandchildren.

Host: And what about other members of the family?

Subject matter expert: The CRA will accept claims at line 331 for your own - or your spouse's or common-law partner's - parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew if they are considered your dependants or dependants of your spouse or common-law partner.

Host: If the relative doesn't live with me, can I still claim medical expenses I paid on behalf of the relative?

Subject matter expert: Yes, you may be able to claim those eligible expenses as long as the relative was a resident of Canada at any time in the year and dependant on you for support.

Host: Is there a specific period for claiming medical expenses?

Subject matter expert: You can claim eligible medical expenses that you paid in any 12-month period ending in the tax year. Generally, you can claim all amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada.

Host: Is there a limit to the dollar amount of medical expenses that I can claim?

Subject matter expert: No, there is no maximum. But, your claim must be greater than either 3% of your net income or a fixed amount that the CRA sets from year to year, whichever is less. For more information on the medical expense claim and the current year's fixed amount, go to the CRA's webpage on that topic. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Some medical expenses can be claimed elsewhere on the return. Can I claim them in both places?

Subject matter expert: No, you cannot claim the same expenses twice. Choose the claim that is most beneficial to you, according to your tax situation.

Host: An employer, government agency, insurance company, or another agency may pay for all or part of the medical expenses. Can I claim the full amount even though I received a reimbursement?

Subject matter expert: No, you have to reduce your claim by the amount of any reimbursement you received.

Host: If I have reduced mobility and I renovate my house to make it more accessible, can I claim the cost of renovations as a medical expense?

Subject matter expert: Yes, if you have a severe and prolonged mobility impairment or lack normal physical development, the expenses you incurred to renovate a house to make it more accessible might qualify as a medical expense. Renovation or construction expenses have to be reasonable and meet certain conditions.

For more information on renovation and construction expenses, go to the Eligible medical expenses section of Guide RC4064, which is called Medical and Disability-Related Information. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Can I claim the cost of a new accessible home as a medical expense?

Subject matter expert: Yes, but not the cost of the entire house. The amount you can claim is the difference in construction costs between the accessible house and the same house built without accessible features. Any rebates would reduce the amount of the claim. Again, you must have a severe and prolonged mobility impairment or a lack of normal physical development to claim this expense.

Host: If I have to hire someone to help me care for myself or my dependant, can I claim that expense?

Subject matter expert: Yes, you can claim it as an attendant care expense. The care can be in your own home or in an establishment such as a retirement home or nursing home.

Host: How much can I claim for attendant care?

Subject matter expert: It depends on the individual's situation.

More information on attendant care in an establishment is available in Guide RC4064, which is called Medical and Disability-Related Information. Or go to the CRA's webpage on medical topics at www.cra.gc.ca/medical. The links are included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: What happens if medical treatment is not available in my hometown?

Subject matter expert: If certain conditions are met, the CRA will allow you to claim reasonable travel expenses to get medical treatment.

Host: What are the conditions that must be met if I want to claim travel for medical reasons?

Subject matter expert: Distance is the first factor. If you have to travel at least 40 kilometres one way from your home to the medical services establishment, you may be able to claim the cost of public transportation.

Host: What if I have to travel more than 40 kilometres and there is no public transportation?

Subject matter expert: If public transportation is not readily available, you may be able to claim the vehicle expenses you paid.

Host: Can I claim accommodation, meals, and parking expenses while travelling for medical reasons?

Subject matter expert: Yes. If you had to travel at least 80 kilometres one way from your home to the medical services establishment, you may be able to claim these expenses, in addition to your transportation costs.

For more information about travel expenses, go to the CRA's webpage on travel expenses. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: How much can I claim?

Subject matter expert: That depends on which method you use to calculate your travel expenses. With the detailed method, you keep track of all of your vehicle expenses for the year and make the claim based on the number of kilometres you drove for medical reasons versus the number you drove for other reasons. With the simplified method, you claim a per-kilometre rate for travel for medical reasons.

For more information about both methods and the current per-kilometre rate, go to www.cra.gc.ca/travelcosts. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: What other conditions are there to be eligible to claim these travel costs?

Subject matter expert: There are three other conditions. First, the same medical services cannot be available near your home. Second, you have to take a reasonably direct route to get to the medical services. And third, it is reasonable under the circumstances for you to have travelled to that place for those services.

For more information, go to the CRA's webpage on travel expenses. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Can a spouse, parent, or caregiver travel with me and have the cost of their travel included as a medical expense?

Subject matter expert: Yes, but only if a medical practitioner certifies that you were not capable of travelling alone.

Host: Do persons with disabilities pay the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax, or GST/HST, on goods and services they use?

Subject matter expert: Persons with disabilities don't pay GST/HST on some of the goods and services they use.

For a detailed list of the items that are not subject to GST/HST, go to the CRA's webpage on that topic. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: You said that some items don't have any GST/HST charged on them. What happens if someone charged me the GST/HST in error?

Subject matter expert: If the GST/HST was charged in error, ask the supplier for a refund or credit of the amount charged. If the supplier will not refund or credit the tax, fill out Form GST189, which is called the General Application for Rebate of GST/HST, and send it to the CRA.

Host: What if I bought an item outside Canada that is specifically designed for persons with disabilities?

Subject matter expert: This is a question about importing goods, which is beyond the scope of this video.

For information about importing goods, go to the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa.gc.ca or call 1-800-461-9999. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: I've heard of a refund for part of the excise tax paid on gasoline for a person with a permanent mobility impairment. Can you tell me a bit more about this refund?

Subject matter expert: Certainly. The Excise Tax Act Application for Refund of Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline allows a person with a permanent mobility impairment to claim a partial refund of the excise tax paid.

For more information and to get the refund application, go to the CRA's webpage on that topic. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Thank you, Nicole.

This concludes the segment called Medical expenses, part of the CRA's Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities video.

Thank you for watching.

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