Some changes in allowable medical expense claimsIan Whiting
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!