Some changes in allowable medical expense claims

Since we are right in the middle of the annual ritual here in Canada, it is a good opportunity to quickly review some recent changes in this area.

Up until two years ago, just about anything done by an MD or other approved specialist, was eligible to be used as part of your medical expense claim – eligible for the medical expense tax credit. It was fairly simple for all concerned. That has changed, and everyone needs to take note in order to avoid re-assessments plus potential interest and penalities to say nothinbg of the hassle involved.

Essentially, if the procedure or expense was not medically required, you can’t use the expense. This applies to items such as tinted contact lenses (that aren’t fixing a vision problem), cosmetic dentistry, cosmetic surgery and beauty treatments (such as Botox injections or skin peels). It also applies to other items such as alterations to your home due to health issues such as elevator lifts and walk-in bath-tubs. In addition, if you choose to move into an assisted living facility – you are welcome to do so, however, unless your attending medical practioner certifies the move is specifically required because of one or more health issues, none of the costs would be considered eligible for a medical claim for tax purposes.

One additional comment regarding cosmetic procedures. If cosmetic surgery is medically required – such as repairs due to serious injury or accident, they are covered as part of your regular Provincial or Territorial medical plan – they are not considered purely cosmetic.

If you have any doubt whether or not a planned surgery or other treatment is eligible to be claimed for the purposes of the medical expense credit on your taxes, consult CRA before you book the appointment!

Ian Whiting

Ian R. Whiting CD, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., FLMI (FS), ACS, AIAA, AALU With more than 40-years of experience in the industry, Ian has qualified 3 times for MDRT, completed LUATC in 1979, the LUAC Financial Planning Skills Course and attended numerous Schools in Agency Management and Sales Management through LIMRA. He obtained his CLU in 1987 while also completed his IFIC qualification and completed his Fellowship in the Life Management Institute with a specialty in Financial Services in 1988. In 1989, he completed qualifications for his Chartered Financial Consultant designation. In 1992, he qualified as an Associate of the Academy of Life Underwriters (Head Office underwriter qualification) and in 1993 he completed his Associate, Customer Service designation program through LOMA. In 1997, he qualified as a CFP and also completed his courses and exams to obtain the Associate, Insurance Agency Administration designation. In 1999, he completed the study and examinations to qualify as a Trading Officer, Partner and Director for Mutual Funds with the BC Securities Commission. As a result, he is also qualified as both a Branch Compliance Manager and Head Office/Provincial Compliance Officer. He served for nearly 18 years with the Canadian Forces (Air) Reserve (reaching the rank of Captain) primarily working with Air Cadets and was award the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) in 1982. Long known as a maverick and forward thinker in the financial services world, Ian enjoys the challenge of learning new material and planning for the future evolution of his chosen profession.