Medical expenses

Medical expenses in respect to your personal tax return is a huge topic, but there is one basic question that arises during tax time.

What can I claim?

For the most part, most legitimate medical expenses can be claimed on your personal tax return. Keep in mind these are not refundable tax credits, but rather deductions to reduce your taxable income. Also important to note is that the total amount of eligible medical expenses must meet a threshold in order to have an affect on your return. If you don’t have enough receipts to make it worthwhile in a given tax year, you may be able to use these in the following year. CRA allows expenses captured in a twelve month period even if this crosses two taxation years.

You must have the receipts and these must be the actual receipt, not store receipt (eg actual prescription receipt, not the Shoppers Drug Mart receipt).

Each province and territory has its own list of authorized medical practitioners for which you can claim an expense. For example, in BC you can claim the expense incurred for seeing a massage therapist, but you would not be able to do this in the province of Alberta. The full list can be found here.

For detailed information regarding disability tax credits and attendant care expenses, please check CRA’s website.

CRA provides an extensive list of eligible medical expenses on their website.

Items commonly claimed:

Ambulance service to or from a public or licensed private hospital.

Attendant care expenses – see Attendant care or care in an establishment

Dental services paid to a medical practitioner or a dentist. Expenses for purely cosmetic procedures are not eligible. See Which medical expenses are not eligible? for more information.

Laser eye surgery paid to a medical practitioner or a public or licensed private hospital.

Nursing home – see Attendant care or care in an establishment.

Prescription drugs and medications that can lawfully be acquired for use by the patient only if prescribed by a medical practitioner. Also, the drugs or medications must be recorded by a pharmacist. You cannot claim over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements, even if prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Vision devices – including eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct eyesight – prescription required.

Our advice: keep all your receipts throughout the year and bring them with you when filing your personal tax return. We will be happy to help you determine which expenses are eligible for your personal tax return.