Most people probably already know you can claim travel to medical appointments, as a medical expense on your tax return. ¬†What was less clear, was what about if you were travelling to take care of a family member that was hospitalized? ¬†I’ve had clients who travel back and forth to a medical centre, to assist with a family member who is either critically ill or maybe going through rehab. ¬† Since these people weren’t transporting the actual patient, it was far from clear whether these “visits” could be claimed as a medical expense.

A court case that was released yesterday brought some clarification.  A certain gentleman named Bill Jordan made frequent trips to care for his wife in the hospital, and also a rehab center.  He claimed these trips as a medical expense on his tax return.  The Canada Revenue Agency denied these costs, and it ended up in Tax Court.

In the Tax Court, Justice Woods ruled that these costs should be allowed, as he felt that Mr. Jordan’s visits significantly contributed to his wife’s recovery.

I would still urge caution in claiming hospital “visits” as a medical expense. ¬†First, you need to remember that these costs must meet the normal medical travel criteria. ¬†Second, you need to be able to prove that these trips were of significant important to the patient’s recovery. ¬†Nevertheless it is always nice to see a taxpayer win like this, especially since this will help clear up the medical travel rules somewhat.


Filed under: Personal Tax by David Boese 2 Comments »

2 responses to “The Tax Court rules on medical travel”

  1. Mary says:

    I have a client who is traveling 25km each way on an out-patient basis to a rehab facility every day. Should I attempt to claim mileage expenses for her? Especially since she is attending this facility under medical direction.

    Thanks for your input.

  2. David Boese says:

    The CRA will only allow travel if the individual must travel at least 40 kms one way to obtain the medical service. This “40 km” rule is baked right into the legislation, so there’s no wiggle room on this one.

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