Claiming Specialized Medical Care Expenses: Reduce Your Taxes with the CRA and Revenu Québec
If you or a loved one required specialized medical care during the year, such as palliative care or other health-related expenses, you may have incurred additional medical expenses that others did not. To provide relief, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec allow you to use the cost of eligible medical expenses to reduce the amount of taxes you owe. The more you claim, the higher the potential refund you can expect from your tax return.
Don’t Miss These Often-Overlooked Medical Expenses
When it comes to claiming medical expenses, there is a wide range of potential deductions available to you. In addition to commonly known expenses like hearing aids, insulin, and diabetic supplies, there are other lesser-known items that may be eligible for deduction, such as medical marijuana (with a prescription).
To ensure you don’t overlook any eligible expenses, take a look at our blog post on medical expenses that are commonly missed but shouldn’t be.
If you’re still uncertain about which medical expenses you can claim, the best approach is to consult the searchable table provided on the CRA website. Residents of Québec can refer to the PDF document available on the Revenu Québec website to determine which medical expenses are eligible for deduction on their tax return.
Discover New Eligible Medical Expenses and Specialized Care
Are there any new medical expenses I can claim?
Absolutely! The CRA and Revenu Québec regularly update the list of eligible medical expenses that can be claimed on your tax return. This year, some of the new additions include:
- Québec residents can now claim the cost of sessions with certified psychotherapists, provided they hold a permit to practice from the Ordre des psychologues du Québec.
- Acupuncturists and speech language therapists are now eligible expenses for residents of Nova Scotia.
What do I need to know about claiming medical marijuana?
If you wish to claim the cost of medical marijuana, there are a few important points to keep in mind. First, you must have a prescription from an approved medical practitioner, such as your doctor. Additionally, ensure that you have purchased your cannabis from a licensed producer and keep your receipts as proof of purchase.
Please note that you can only claim the cost of medical fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oils, and cannabis seeds/plants. Recreational cannabis, expenses related to growing cannabis, and accessories such as lights, containers, vaporizers, etc., are not eligible for deduction.
What is specialized medical care?
Specialized medical care refers to medical expenses that involve a specific or specialized component. This may include individuals who require customized therapy plans, unique treatments, or assistance from professionals with specialized training.
Examples of specialized medical care include:
- Personalized therapy plans: You can claim the cost of personalized therapy plans provided by professionals like psychologists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, etc., as specialized medical care. To be eligible for this claim, you need to meet specific criteria, including:
- Having a prescription from an approved medical practitioner (varies by province, check the CRA’s website for approved practitioners).
- Qualifying for the disability tax credit (DTC).
- The therapy plan must be prescribed and designed by a psychologist, doctor, nurse practitioner, or occupational therapist to address a mental or physical impairment.
Note: Residents of Québec can also claim the cost of psychotherapy sessions as an eligible medical expense.
Examples of specialized medical care include:
- Service animals: You can claim the expenses associated with purchasing and caring for a specially trained service animal. This includes costs such as buying food and providing veterinary care. To be eligible for this claim, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You are blind.
- You are profoundly deaf.
- You have a severe and prolonged physical impairment that limits the use of your arms or legs.
- You are autistic.
- You have epilepsy.
- You are affected by severe diabetes.
In addition, you can also claim reasonable travel expenses related to attending a school or institution that provides training for handling your service animal.
Note: Emotional support animals are not considered eligible medical expenses and cannot be claimed as a deduction on your tax return.
- Rehabilitation centers: Rehabilitation centers that provide treatment for individuals with drug, alcohol, or gambling addictions are another example of specialized medical care. You can claim the total amount you paid for staying at the rehabilitation center, as well as any training you received during your time there.
Can I claim the cost of palliative care?
Yes, you can claim the cost of palliative care as a medical expense. Palliative care is specialized medical care provided to individuals with severe illnesses such as cancer, advanced heart disease, or Alzheimer’s. It focuses on pain relief and providing relief to enhance the comfort and dignity of the person with the illness and their family.
Palliative care can be received in various settings, including hospitals, at home, long-term care facilities, or hospices (homes for people with terminal illnesses). While there is no single national palliative care program, the federal government and healthcare institutions are collaborating to improve coverage for those in need. Currently, palliative care is managed by provincial governments and private institutions, and the availability and associated costs vary depending on your province and the facility providing the care.
To understand what palliative care available and what expenses can be claimed in your province, you can visit the website of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.
What do I need to claim my medical expenses?
To claim medical expenses, it is important to keep your supporting documents for at least six years in case the CRA or Revenu Québec requests to review them later. Different types of medical expenses may require different supporting documents. For example, some expenses may require a prescription, while others may need a written certificate or a signed T2201 form (for the disability tax credit). If you are filing a paper return, you must attach your receipts when you file.
The supporting documents you need include:
- Receipts: The receipts should include your name or the name of the person on whose behalf you paid the expense (such as your partner, children, or dependents).
- Prescriptions: Some medical expenses, such as lab procedures, certain medical supplies, and medicines, require a prescription from a medical practitioner, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, or optometrist.
- Certificate from a medical practitioner: Certain medical expenses may require a certificate from an approved medical practitioner, confirming the necessity of the expense. Examples of expenses that may require a written certificate include tutoring services, talking textbooks, and note-taking services.
Please note that the list of approved medical practitioners who can provide prescriptions may vary by province. You can refer to the CRA website for a comprehensive list.
Expenses related to surrogacy and donor arrangements are now considered eligible medical expenses starting from 2022 and onwards. This expanded list includes:
- Expenses paid for services provided by a surrogate mother or for procedures involving sperm or ova donors. For example, this may include payments made to a fertility clinic for in vitro fertilization procedures for a surrogate mother or for hormone medication for an ova donor.
- Reimbursements of expenses made by the surrogate mother or the sperm or ova donor themselves. If they personally paid for eligible medical expenses, those reimbursements can now be claimed.
- Fees paid to fertility clinics and donor banks for acquiring donor sperm or ova.
It’s important to note that only expenses incurred in Canada are eligible for these claims.