CLAIM EVERYTHING YOU CAN COME TAX TIME
There are many medical expenses in Canada that are deductible on your personal income tax return as a non-refundable tax credit.
Some people don’t see the need to claim medical expenses on their income tax return in Canada but if you can, why wouldn’t you?
Paying for medical expenses can deeply burden any budget especially when they are not covered by any other health plan.
The key to claiming medical expenses first means you have to reach a threshold set out by the government to claim these added costs to you.
Besides your spouse or common-law partner you can also claim medical expenses on line 331 for any dependents that you have such as children, grandchildren or even your parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers etc.
So claiming medical expenses on your income tax return is not just about you if you have others you are looking after.
You can only claim eligible medical expenses if they have not already been claimed the year prior or they were incurred in the 12 month period that you are claiming for.
What medical expenses are tax-deductible in Canada?
Tax deductible expenses in Canada include medical expenses which was something we weren’t made aware of until we had to start paying for medication not covered under any health plan.
Honestly, I wish I had learned more about this while I was paying someone to do our income tax returns for us. It has only been over the past few years that I started putting our returns together because it’s not really that hard, for me at least.
That’s when I started learning and educating myself about income tax in Canada.
What I did find in my research that some people may not know about is that you can claim medical expenses for someone who has died in any 24 month period. The medical expenses must not have been previously claimed either.
That means my mother-in-law can claim my father-in-laws medical expenses on her income tax return.
Refundable Medical Expense Supplement
There is also something called a Refundable Medical Expense Supplement which is for people who have a low-income and high medical expenses.
If you meet the criteria set out you can claim up to $1222 on your income tax return.This is located on line 452 of your income tax return just in case you are looking for it.
Below are some in brief of the more common medical expenses that are tax-deductible but I encourage you to read the full list as there are many more eligible expenses.
Keep in mind that these could change at any time so always review the government website for up to date info. At the time of writing this post in 2019 the following were eligible medical expenses you could claim.
The link for this is at the end.
Prescription drugs and medications that can lawfully be obtained for use by the person 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 (except Vitamin B12).
Medical services outside of Canada – if you travel outside Canada to get medical services, you can claim the amounts you paid to a medical practitioner and a public or licensed private hospital. A “licensed private hospital” is a hospital licensed by the jurisdiction that it operates in.
Medical marihuana – the amounts paid for marihuana, marihuana plants or seeds, cannabis or cannabis oil for a person authorized to possess these substances, for their own medical use, under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations or section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. These substances must also be purchased in accordance with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations or section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Injection pens – used to give an injection, such as an insulin pen – prescription needed.
Insulin or substitutes – prescription needed.
In vitro fertility program – the amount paid to a medical practitioner or a public or licensed private hospital, not including donations to a sperm bank.
Hospital bed including attachments – prescription needed.
Ambulance service to or from a public or licensed private hospital.
Hospital services – public or private, that are licensed as hospitals by the province, territory or jurisdiction where they are located in
Hearing aids or personal assistive listening devices including repairs and batteries.
Heart monitoring devices including repairs and batteries – prescription needed.
Orthopaedic shoes, boots, and inserts – prescription needed.
Air conditioner – $1,000 or 50% of the amount paid for the air conditioner, whichever is less, for a person with a severe chronic ailment, disease, or disorder – prescription needed.
Rehabilitative therapy including lip reading and sign language training to adjust to a person’s hearing or speech loss.
Renovation or construction expenses – amounts paid for changes that give a person access to (or greater mobility or functioning within) their home because they have a severe and prolonged mobility impairment or lack normal physical development.
Gluten-free products – Persons with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can claim the incremental costs associated with buying gluten-free products as a medical expense. The incremental cost of buying gluten-free food products is the cost of gluten-free products minus the cost of similar products with gluten.
School for persons with a mental or physical impairment – an appropriately qualified person, such as a medical practitioner or the principal or head of the school, must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities, or staff specially provided by that school are needed because of the person’s physical or mental impairment.
Scooter – the amount paid for a scooter that is used instead of a wheelchair.
Travel expenses (less than 40 km) – travel expenses cannot be claimed as a medical expense if you traveled less than 40 kilometres (one way) from your home to get medical services.
Treatment centre for a person addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. A medical practitioner must certify in writing that the person needs the specialized equipment, facilities, or staff.
Travel expenses (at least 40 km) – the cost of the public transportation expenses (for example, taxis, bus, or train) when a person needs to travel at least 40 kilometres (one way), but less than 80 km, from their home to get medical services.
Tests – the cost of medical tests such as electrocardiographs, electrocardiograms, metabolism tests, radiological services or procedures, spinal fluid tests, stool examinations, sugar content tests, urine analysis, and x-ray services. Also, you can claim the cost of any related interpretation or diagnosis – prescription needed.
Service animals – the cost of a specially trained animal to assist in coping with an impairment
Wigs – the amount paid for a person who has suffered abnormal hair loss because of a disease, accident, or medical treatment – prescription needed.
Fertility-related procedures – amounts paid to a medical practitioner or a public or licensed private hospital to conceive a child. Generally, amounts paid for a surrogate mother are not eligible. See also In vitro fertility program.
Furnace – the amount paid for an electric or sealed combustion furnace to replace a furnace that is neither of these, where the replacement is necessary because of a person’s severe chronic respiratory ailment or immune system disorder – prescription needed.
Diapers or disposable briefs for a person who is incontinent because of an illness, injury, or affliction.
Driveway access – reasonable amounts paid to alter the driveway of the main place of residence of a person who has a severe and prolonged mobility impairment, to ease access to a bus.
Crutches – can be claimed without any certification or prescription.
Claiming Medical Marihuana
It was in 2017 when Mrs. CBB received her medicinal marijuana licence for her health problem which meant potential pain relief for her but with a huge price tag.
She’s allowed up to 60g of either medicinal oil, dried flowers or capsules each month through an online company called Spectrum in Canada.
Since we quit smoking back in 2013 there was no way she was going to start smoking marijuana unless it was her only option.
We did talk to our life insurance broker and the good thing was that it would not have impacted her insurance policy since this came after her medical.
That meant that if she was to die or fall ill from something related to smoking marijuana that it wouldn’t go against her. Fair enough. We were honest and wanted to know but that wasn’t enough to convince her to start smoking again.
Over the past two years she’s mainly stuck to cannabis oil however there was a catch. There’s no one size fits all which meant that she had to try various kinds until she found a mix of THC/CBD oil that worked for her.
In some cases she went for straight THC oil and others only CBD oil. After trial and error she found that Spectrum Blue and Tweed Argyle work best for her but they come with a price tag.
Costs of buying legal marijuana in Canada
Keep in mind these prices will vary depending on who your legal supplier is.
Each 5mg bottle of cannabis oil ranges in price from $50 to over $100. Not only that but it’s tough to keep product in stock so she were to run out then she was faced with waiting for it or to buy a different one.
Blue • Hybrid • THC: 10.0 mg/mL • CBD: 15.0 mg/mL costs us $90 40ml/5g plus tax plus shipping so just over $100 a week
Yellow • Hybrid • THC: <1 mg/mL • CBD: 20.0 mg/mL has the same costs as the Blue Cannabis oil above.
Mrs. CBB is allowed to order up to 12 bottles of cannabis oil every month which totals approximately $1080 plus tax and shipping.
The idea was for her to leave behind her opioid medications and move into something natural. She’s seen what too many drugs have done to people and she wanted to limit what she ingests.
My work benefits health insurance cover our medications up to 85% so we have minimal costs involved.
It’s not the money we are thinking about though, it’s her health. On the other hand who has over $1000 a month to spend on medications in Canada?
Not many people although I’m sure many of you reading this have bills as high or higher to pay for medical expenses.
The good thing is that when you do your income tax return at the end of the year what you paid for out-of-pocket not including what any work benefits or other coverage paid for may be tax-deductible.
Since we are with Sun Life Canada I heard that some work benefits may cover medicinal marijuana where there was as medical licence so I called them up to check.
Sadly, my work benefits doesn’t include that extra although I’m looking into whether or not it is something I can include in the future.
It really is up to your employer what they offer to the employees but for many of us we pay into it as not all employee benefits programs are equal or free.
Currently Mrs. CBB doesn’t order as much as she did the first year because it is so costly and has moved to a prescription for Sativex which is covered under my benefits but we still pay $38 out-of-pocket.
That’s reasonable for us right now. Without benefits the full cost of the medication would be over $230 a month or as needed. It’s possible she could use one pump a week but she currently only trialing this medication.
Claiming Medical Expenses
How to claim medical expenses on your income tax return?
At the end of the year when it’s tax time I collect all of her medical receipts for cannabis oil and what we pay out-of-pocket from the pharmacy and these are her medical expense deductions.
Upon research on the topic of medical expenses that we can claim on our income tax return I found there were so many things that not even I would have considered.
I think it’s important for everyone who pays income tax in Canada to do their research because you never know what you can and can’t claim.
You can claim eligible medical expenses on line 330 or line 331 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax, of your tax return the lesser of two amounts.
You can claim either 3% of your net income or $2302. In other words you will have to have medical expenses above $2302 to make any impact to your income tax return.
This is the threshold I was talking about at the beginning of this post which seems like lots of money but it can add up fast as you may have noticed in Mrs. CBB’s case.
This is why some people don’t bother but for those of you who do pay quite a bit for medications like my father-in-law did even after Trillium paid it was worth it for him to claim his medical expenses.
Compare the amount you can claim with the amount your spouse or common-law partner would be able to claim. It may be better for the spouse or common-law partner with the lower net income (line 236) to claim the eligible medical expenses.
Line 330 – Medical expenses for self, spouse or common-law partner, and your dependant children born in 2000 or later
Use line 330 to claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for any of the following persons:
- your spouse or common-law partner
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 2001 or later
Line 331 – Allowable amount of medical expenses for other dependants
Use line 331 to claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for any of the following persons who depended on you for support:
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child who was born in 2000 or earlier, or grandchildren
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parents, grand-parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, or nephews who were residents of Canada at any time in the year
On line 330 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax, enter the total amount that you, or your spouse or common-law partner paid in 2018 for eligible medical expenses.
On the line below line 330, enter the lesser of the following amounts:
- 3% of your net income (line 236)
Subtract the amount of step 2 from the amount on line 330, and enter the result on the following line of Schedule 1.
Claim the corresponding provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credit on line 5868 of your provincial or territorial Form 428.
You have to do the following calculation for each dependant.
Add up the total amount that you, or your spouse or common-law partner paid in 2018 for eligible medical expenses.
Find out which amount is less between:
- 3% of your dependant’s net income (line 236)
Subtract the lesser amount from step 2 from the amount from step 1. Enter the result on line 331 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax.
Claim the corresponding provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credit on line 5872 of your provincial or territorial Form 428.
Documents to Claim Medical Expenses
If you plan to claim any medical expenses on your income tax return in Canada then you best be saving receipts, all of them. Although you don’t have to send them in with your income tax return if they audit you or ask for proof you need to prove it.
- Certification in Writing
- Form T2201 Disability Tax Credit
We claim for all of the above for my wife so we keep everything organized in a folder so when it comes time to do her income tax return her medical expenses are ready to go.
The worst thing you have to do is find everything but it’s not that hard if you have to ring up the pharmacy or your doctor but you may have to pay for doctors letters or notes as applicable.
Typically this is what we do for my mother-in-law so we know exactly how much she paid for her prescriptions although keeping the official receipt is ideal.
For full details on medical expenses you can claim on your income tax return you can visit Canada.ca
Discussion: Were there any years that you could have claimed certain medical expenses but you didn’t because you weren’t aware?
What do you do differently today?
CBB Home and Blog Update
Hi there everyone,
Well, if you’ve been reading my Facebook updates you’ll know that we had a doozy of a week for appliance upset around the house. First, our hot water tank ignition starter went which also runs our furnace.
That meant we had no hot water and no heat and you guessed it, the weather was cold outside. Although we bundled up with lots of blankets it’s amazing just how cold the inside of a house can get when there is no heat flowing through it.
Thankfully Reliance was here in the morning and sorted it out for us. In the meantime we’ll be looking into buying a brand new furnace and owning a hot water tank moving forward.
After we had the furnace and hot water tank sorted out the refrigerator and freezer decided to stop working. I got up in the middle of the night for a glass of milk and that’s when I found out that it wasn’t working. Nice. So there I was at 2am emptying out the refrigerator and freezer while my wife and child slept, trying to be quiet.
I managed to store most of it in the garage, outside on the porch and in our big freezer which was filled to the max when I was done with it. I defrosted the refrigerator for hours but that wasn’t enough to get it started.
After I was done work I tore it apart to find that the fan was frozen solid in ice. I’ll be blogging about this fun experience to help anyone else who may run into this problem. It was a simple fix and one that could have cost us hundreds of dollars if we had to call a refrigeration tech out to fix it.
That’s our week. More sports are starting up soon for the little guy so we’ll be ultra busy Spring cleaning and running here there and everywhere. The joys of parenting. Oh, and we will be meeting with our financial advisor in the upcoming weeks to discuss our long-term life insurance. This should be interesting.
Have a great couple of weeks. See you back here soon.
CBB Posts You May Have Missed
These are the blog posts I’ve written the past two weeks that you can catch up on if you’ve missed them. If you don’t already please subscribe to the blog and you will get my posts come straight to your email. Ta-da…CBB in an Instant.
- The Best Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies
- The Ultimate Guide Of Executor Resources After Death
- The Cheapest Canadian Grocery Stores to Shop At
- 5 Best Methods For Filing your Tax Return in Canada
Finance Read or Video Of the Week
It’s not easy building net worth but once you have the momentum to keep it going nothing will stop you. I popped around the blog Route to Retire to read, “$1Million Net Worth…Now What?” because I wanted to know what their plans were.
As you will read they did what we did and that was to cut back on our expenses and minimized the amount of crap we had around the house. I often find it interesting to read how people build their net worth and at what age they plan to retire. I believe Jim retired at age 43 and will be moving his family to Panama.
By keeping our expenses low, saving and investing as much as we can, and creating additional wealth through side hustles and real estate, we’ve really made some major strides in our financial future.
Initially, we cut back on just a few things and saved the difference. But over time, we’ve found that as we eliminate a lot of the material crap in our lives, the happier we’ve become.
Good Luck with your move Jim!
Frugal Recipe Find
With Easter on Sunday April 21, 2019 I’ve always wanted to make a Sweet Glazed Easter Bread to pass on to our friends and family rather than chocolates, cakes and cookies. I stumbled upon a recipe for Easter Bread by Janel over at A Mom’s Stake which I think we’re going to love and so will you.
Mr.CBB’s Motivational Corner
Saturday Search Term Giggles
Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. (SIC) means I’ve copied the text exactly and it has spelling errors.
Most times funny, sometimes serious.
- Best Biscuits In THE WORLD– Haha, you got it right here on CBB. Call me CHEF CBB.
- How to get food to feed my family without money– Food Bank, Community, Churches
- Sneaky things a family does to make sure spouse doesn’t get money– Ouch. Sounds like some serious money issues.
- Keto Peanut Butter Soup– Ewe.
- When I dial 1-866-246-7262 I am told I have the wrong number to hand up and call again- Lol… things people search.
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