Tax Time Tips

Originally published

I teamed up with my fellow blogger Derek de Gannes to share important information needed for this tax season. According to Statistics Canada, twenty – eight percent of Canadians are providing unpaid care to a family or friend.  We know that the cost of caring is high, both emotionally and financially.  We thought that it would be helpful to include some tips and information regarding what goods and services might be eligible for a medical tax exemption or a non refundable tax credit.

We will address services that may be eligible according to CRA  for those providing care at home and those receiving care at a facility.

Please note, this is general information only and the reader is directed to the CRA website or advised to speak with an accountant.

A few definitions:

Attendant Care/Services of Personal Support Worker while incredibly important and often essential, can also be a very costly.

Definition: Care provided by another who does personal tasks which a person cannot do for herself. This does NOT apply to a spouse or common-law partner.  The attendant must be over 18 year of age. These expenses may be claimed for expenses paid for the care of yourself, your spouse or a dependent.

Dependent Definition: “dependant is someone who depended on you for support and is:

  • your, or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child or grandchild
  • your, or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, or nieces who lived in Canada at any time in the year”

 Living at a Long Term Care Facility or Retirement Residence:

Generally, one can claim the entire amount in a nursing home and the medical expense includes:

“All regular fees including food, accommodation, nursing care, administration, maintenance, social programming and activities qualify as medical expenses. However, extra personal expenses such as hairdresser fees are not allowable.  Note: A nursing home is generally considered to be a facility that provides full-time care. Any facility could be considered a nursing home if it has the equivalent features and characteristics of a nursing home.”

“If someone claims the fees paid to a nursing home for full-time care as a medical expense on line 330 or 331, no one else can claim the disability amount for the same person.” CRA requires specific certifications or documentation from a medical practitioner that “in the foreseeable future the [person] will continue to be, dependent on others for their personal needs and care because of a lack of normal mental capacity.

Living At Home:

There is a lengthy list of medical goods and services that may be claimed. A full list is available on the CRA site.  Some of the more common items include:

  • Services of a Personal Support Worker
  • Prescription drugs and medications
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Renovation or construction expenses
  • Scooters
  • Walking aids
  • Vision devices
  • Vehicle modification for wheelchair use

Services provided by authorized medical practitioners may also be included.  To access the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) chart of professions in each province and territory that are authorized, click on the following link:

However some of the more common services include those provided by a Registered Social Worker, Registered Occupational Therapist, Registered Physiotherapist and Registered Nurse. Note: Geriatric care management services, when completed by a registered social worker are deductible.

As well, it might be helpful to know that if someone is receiving personal support services from the public sector/local health authority/Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), any additional in home Personal Support Work (PSW) hours purchased from an agency can be tax exempt according to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Salaries and wages paid for part time attendant care provided in a private residence (ie your home) or at a retirement residence may also be deemed as an eligible medical expense for completion of the following activities:

  • “food preparation
  • housekeeping services for a resident’s personal living space
  • laundry services for a resident’s personal items
  • health care (registered nurse, practical nurse, certified health care aide, personal support worker)
  • activities (social programmer)
  • salon services (hairdresser, manicurist, pedicurist) if included in the monthly fee
  • transportation (driver)”

In order for these goods and services to be claimed, one must be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit or provide written confirmation from a medical practitioner that the above services are necessary.  In order to claim attendant care services, a receipt must be provided the agency or if hiring privately by the Personal Support Worker, along with their social insurance number.

In order to claim full time attendant care services that are provided at home, a certification is required, either Form T2201 “or a medical practitioner must certify in writing that [the person] will likely to be for a long continuous period of indefinite duration, dependent on others for [their] personal needs and care because of an impairment in physical or mental functions and need a full-time attendant.

Like many things in life, hiring a professional may save more time and money than doing it yourself. Happy tax time.

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