CRA reminds Canadians to claim medical expenses

By Andrew Rickard | March 22 2016 01:53PM

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has posted a reminder to its web site explaining how Canadians may claim medical expenses on their income tax returns.

If people have paid for hospital services, paid to live in a nursing home, or bought medical supplies such as pacemakers, vaccines, or walking aids, the CRA notes that they may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit when filing their tax returns. These expenses may be claimed not only by the taxpayer, but also by a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children (provided they were born in or after 1998), and other dependants.

Determine if expenses are eligible

It is important to determine if these expenses qualify as an eligible medical expense. The CRA says that people often claim the cost of fitness club fees, blood pressure monitors, organic food, and over-the-counter medications and supplements (including those prescribed by a medical practitioner); none of these expenses are actually eligible. The CRA has compiled a list of common medical expenses and indicated whether or not they are eligible at

12-month period

The CRA notes that in order to be eligible for the tax credit, medical costs must have been paid by the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse or common-law partner, and they must have been paid within a 12-month period ending in 2015 and not claimed for 2014.

Taxfilers may also be able to claim travel expenses if they needed to journey at least 40 kilometers one way from their homes in order to obtain medical services.

Claiming transportation expenses

"If so, you may be able to claim the public transportation (for example, taxi, bus, and train) expenses you paid. Where public transportation is not readily available, you may be able to claim vehicle expenses instead," explains the CRA. "Or maybe you had to travel at least 80 kilometres (one way) from your home to get medical services. If so, you may be able to claim accommodation, meal, and parking expenses in addition to your transportation expenses."

In addition, if a medical practitioner certifies in writing that someone was incapable of travelling alone to obtain medical services, a companion's transportation and travel expenses may also be eligible for a claim.

Supplement for low-income workers

The CRA points out that there is another refundable medical expense supplement available to low-income workers who have high medical expenses. They may be able to claim a refundable credit of up to $1,172.