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Are you claiming all your eligible medical expenses?

3-18-2013 Claiming medical expenses as a tax credit may be old news, but you may not have heard everything there is to know.  In order to be able to claim medical expenses, the expenses need to be more than $2,109 (in 2012) or more than 3% of your net income (whichever calculation works out to the lower amount).   Expenses over and above this amount will result in either a credit at line 332 on Schedule 1, a refundable medical expense supplement on line 452, or both depending on your income level and other tax credits.  This threshold applies to all medical expenses added together – not just the ones mentioned here.

Here are four eligible medical expenses that you may not be aware of.

Air conditioner, furnace, or water filter

CRA’s web site says:  “$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 required.”  Along those same lines, a furnace may be eligible if it is electric or sealed combustion for a person with a severe chronic respiratory ailment or immune system disorder.  A water filter may also be eligible in these circumstances.  In all cases, a prescription is required.

Tax credit for incremental cost of gluten-free foods

The incremental cost of gluten-free products is an eligible medical expense for people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease by a medical doctor.  Some say eliminating gluten may be beneficial for other health conditions.  Others say people are jumping on the bandwagon because it’s the thing to do.  I won’t even pretend to be qualified to weigh in on that debate, so please don’t e-mail me to complain about this.  J  Finance Canada has mandated that this tax credit be available only to those who have a celiac diagnosis.

To claim this credit, you need a letter from a doctor, receipts for items purchased (see column 4 below), and a summary of purchases.  The chart on Canada Revenue Agency’s web site looks like this:

Sample of summary chart for incremental cost calculation


Number of items purchased

Average cost
non-GF product

Average cost
GF product

Incremental cost

Claim for
GF item

Bread 52 $3.49 $6.99 $3.50 $182.00
Rice flour 4 $6.59 $9.59 $3.00 $12.00
$ $ $ $

Total Incremental cost allowable
(add all amounts in column 6)

$ ______


Unfortunately, there is no similar credit available for people with allergies.  A dairy allergy, for example, can result in a large incremental cost for purchasing rice, soy, or almond milk instead of cow’s milk, but as of yet, there is no tax credit available.

Tutoring services

There are a bunch of conditions to meet for this one, but if you or one of your dependents has a learning disability or impairment in mental function, you may be able to claim any tutoring costs that you pay to supplement this person’s education.

Fertility treatments

The amount paid to a medical practitioner or a hospital is eligible, not including donations to a sperm bank.  Manitoba has a refundable provincial tax credit on form MB 479.  Your province may cover some or all of the costs through its public medical insurance.


For a more complete list of eligible medical expenses, see Canada Revenue Agency’s web site.  You just never know what you may be missing!

March 15, 2013

2 responses on "Are you claiming all your eligible medical expenses?"

  1. I haven’t yet. So thank you for reminding me with this post.
    Frederick A Hothan recently posted..cb giveawaysMy Profile

  2. I will claim it after Christmas…

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