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.

 

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Did you have to pay a large medical bill for your dependent?  Perhaps you modified a van for a disabled parent, or paid nursing home fees for your aunt?

In the past, you were limited to claiming only $10,000 in medical expenses for adult dependents.  That limit has been lifted beginning in tax year 2011.

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Medical Insurance Premiums


January 26th, 2010

Don’t forget that you can claim your medical insurance premiums as a medical expense. ¬†If you pay into a medical plan at work, be sure to get the total amount that you paid in during the year. ¬†Contrary to popular opinion, this amount if NOT always on your T4 slip. ¬†It might be, depending on your employer, but it is not a government requirement to have it on there. ¬†If it isn’t, simply save your last pay stub from the year, and keep it with your tax papers.

Remember too, that it is only the medical and dental insurance premiums that you can claim. ¬†You can’t claim the life insurance premiums. ¬†Sometimes you might pay into a plan that is comprehensive of medical, dental, life etc. ¬†If this happens you have to ask your employer for a breakdown of what is just for medical and dental.

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Medical travel rates 2009


January 20th, 2010

If you need to travel more than 40 kms one way to obtain medical services, and those services are not available closer to your home, you are allowed to claim your travel costs as a medical expense.  The Canada Revenue Agency allows you to claim a simplified, cents per kilometre travel rate.  Each year they announce the mileage rates for the different provinces.

If you need to travel more than 80 kms, you can also claim a meal at a flat rate of $17.00/meal, no receipts needed.

For 2009, the mileage rates can be found at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns248-260/255/rts-eng.html


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