Medical Expense Tax Credit

by Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant on April 20, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post

If you have medical expenses for your spouse, dependent, and yourself, you can claim the medical expense tax credit.

The medical expense tax credit may claimed for any 12 month period ending in the tax year and is calculated as the total amount of medical expenses paid multiplied by the lowest tax rate (15% for 2009) in excess of the lesser of:

  • 3% of net income, or
  • the stated base amount ($2,011 for 2009).

Either spouse may claim the medical expense tax credit and therefore the lower income spouse should claim the medical expense credit if there is enough tax payable.

CRA Resources

  • Medical Expense and Disability Tax Credits and Attendant Care Expense Deduction

About The Tax Guy...

Dean Paley CGA CFP is a Burlington accountant and financial planner who services individuals and business owners locally, nationally and internationally. Dean has appeared in the National Post, Toronto Star and Metro News.

To find out more, visit Dean's website Dean Paley CGA CFP or connect via Twitter @DeanPaleyCGACFP.

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JonothanBriar April 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm

In regards to the disability tax credit, isn’t it true that the process of becoming eligible a tedious process? According to the CRA, the disability tax credit does seem like the Canadian government’s way of acknowledging the extra expenses that individuals with disabilities must endure.. but at the same time, the government does not make it easy to become approved for a disability tax credit according to a number of sources including a publication by the MS society. I’ve stumbled upon a few companies such as Canadian Disability Corporation, being the first at the top of my head, that helps ease the process. Their website is do companies such as this make a difference?

Tax Guy April 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I’ve not heard of these types of companies. If your disability is real, your doctor will complete the certificate. The CRA may challenge it! But the process “should” not be onerous. Any accountant can help.

Nykki April 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Hi there – I complete my Grand-Parents tax return every year. Unfortunately my Grandmother had to stay in a Long Term Care Facility for the better part of 2009 due to a broken leg. The total medical expense for 2009 were $6,119.00. The software I’m using automatically put the medical expenses to my Grandfather’s return. His income was $19K and my Grandmother was $8K – no income tax was deducted on either of their Federal Slips and the medical expenses didn’t even make a difference in their refunds. Does that seem right to you? Everything I have read says if it’s more than 3% of your total income you should get around 15% back Federally and 6% back Provincially. Does it sound like I’ve done something wrong?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Tax Guy April 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Hi Nykki:
The medical expense tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit. This means that the credit can only be used to reduce taxes payable to zero. If there was no tax paid, the credit is worthless.

If either is expecting higher income in the future, they can claim the credit for any 12 months period ending in the tax year.

Tax Advice April 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Does the medical expense tax credit vary from province to province?

Tax Guy April 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Ha. I’m game for an outbound link! At the federal level the credit is the same. Each province has their own version of the credit: the thresholds may be different.

HandyTax October 6, 2010 at 12:50 am

There is also the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement, which helps those with lower incomes.

dryeyes February 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I was diagnosed with dry eye syndrome by my optometrist and in the past have even had to go to an ophthalmologist when the condition became quite severe. the optometrist recommended taking 2000 units of salmon oil to help as the condition can be quite painful and debilitating. The health food store said I could deduct the cost of the oil as a medical expense credit (using the 3% method etc) especially if I got a letter from the optometrist but the optometrist said to just go ahead and include these costs in the medical expenses and I didn’t need a letter. Can I deduct the costs? Thanks

Tax Guy February 7, 2011 at 8:09 am

I am not certain whether these expenses qualify or not, but based on my understanding, the products must be dispensed by a pharmacy or be listed in 118.2(2)(k) of which these items appear not to be listed.

See paragraphs 61, 62 and 66 of the following CRA document:

Eric Bender January 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

Any thoughts as to whether the increasing – and often quite costly – hospital parking charges for my wife and myself could be claimed? Medicare’s great but when the associated fees like parking are factored in, it sure ain’t free…

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