Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are Your Medical Expenses Tax Deductible?

MUSIC: "If I had a Million Dollars"

The information that I'm about to relay will only apply to Canadian tax payers.

However, residents of other countries should check with their tax regulators to determine if they might also have an eligible claim when completing their next tax return.

Most of my Canadian viewers are probably well aware of the Canadian tax rules and regulations, as it relates to medical expenses that you or your family incur in any particular year. All information is available online at http://www.cra.gc.ca/ or in your annual Income Tax and Benefit Guide for the appropriate tax year.

We can all attest to the fact that cancer patients incur very high medical expenses each year. Chemotherapy medications have enormous costs associated with them, and if you are not fortunate enough to have insurance coverage, then your life savings or retirement nest eggs can be wiped out within a few treatments. Constant travel to hospital for oncologist appointments or the never ending barrage of MRI's, CT scans, blood tests, X-rays, ......and the list goes on for various cancer testing, can also lead to excruciating depletion of your hard-earned savings. Then, many of you may have to leave your home to receive cancer treatments for extended periods of time, once again costing you exorbitant amounts of money.

When tax time rolls around, it is crucial to be aware of the tax laws and regulations as it pertains to your financial situation and how you could possibly tally up any amounts under medical expenses to reduce your overall taxes payable.

My first advice would be to check out the Canada Revenue Agency's website at http://www.cra.gc.ca/ and more specifically to review the CRA's Guide RC4064 Medical and Disability-Related Information by following this link http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4064/README.html It will provide a detailed analysis of eligible medical expenses with regards to the above, and if you are in further disarray of not really understanding the full concept, then you can call their toll free inquiry line at 1-800-959-8281 and speak personally to a client services representative who will be most obliging to respond to your tax concerns. The above phamplet is available online and can also be mailed at your request by calling 1-800-959-2221.

For example, on page 11 of that particular Guide, it lists the eligible medical expenses associated with travel.

- Did you know that if a particular medical treatment, such as a CT scan is not available within a 40km distance of your residence, the cost of travel may qualify as an eligible medical expense. There is a set per kilometer rate which varies each tax year for this claim, depending on the province in which you reside, and the rates can be determined for 2007 at www.cra.gc.ca/travelcosts
Note that the 2008 rates of course will not be available until the new year.

- If your medical travel in greater than 80km, then you may be eligible to claim the costs of meals and accommodations, using either the Simplified or Detailed methods of calculation.

- Another item to note as well is, if your doctor certifies that you are unable to travel without assistance, then you may be eligible to claim travel expenses for someone who accompanies you.

These are only some of the possible tax exemptions for which you may qualify, there are various others, depending on your medical situation. It is always important to investigate all expenses for which you may be eligible, based on your medical situation. Of course, these medical expenses do not relate specifically to cancer patients alone, but I have referenced them in this particular post just for those dealing with cancer.

My best advice is to check out your countries tax laws thoroughly, ask experienced tax preparers and don't be afraid to telephone the experts for advice.
Why am I posting this now you may ask? To give you ample time to check out the tax rules and regulations before the tax season arrives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dee good information. As well for those who can not work they should check out the "disability tax certificate" this enable patients who can't work to not pay income tax. You might be able to provide patients with the appropriate form. Hint: get the family doctor to fill out the form as it is faster than the specialist. The wife/spouce can claim the unused portion of the patients income tax allowance. It sure helps.