Tax Benefits for People with Epilepsy
March 15, 2010 2:00 PMSend to a Friend
With tax time coming upon us, the BC Epilepsy Society often gets questions regarding medical and disability benefits. To assist you with these, below are answers about the most common inquiries we receive.
1. What Can I Claim as a Medical Expense?
You can claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:
- Your spouse or common-law partner; or
- Your or your spouse's or common-law partner's children born in 1992 or later and who depended on you for support
- Your or your spouse's or common-law partner's child who was born in 1991 or earlier, or grandchild; or
- Your or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew who was a resident of Canada at any time in the year
Along with prescribed medications, medical expenses you can claim include travel expenses for medical services, respite care expenses, homeopathic services, tutoring services, ambulance transport, and costs associated with seizure response dogs. Below is a list of medical expenses you can and cannot claim in your tax return.
Expenses you can claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/llwbl-eng.html
Expenses you cannot claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/ntllwbl-eng.html
An authorized medical practitioner must prescribe expenses and original receipts must support claims. Eligible expenses must have been paid in the claim period and any reimbursements from insurance companies, work medical plans, etc. must be deducted from the amount claimed.
For more information about medical expenses, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.
2. If I have epilepsy, do I qualify for the Disability Tax Credit?
The Disability Tax Credit (sometimes called the disability amount or DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that reduces income tax payable for eligible individuals. To be eligible, you must meet all three of the following conditions:
- You must have a severe impairment in physical or mental functions.
- Your impairment must be prolonged, which means it has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
- A qualified medical practitioner certifies that your impairment is severe and prolonged and completes Form T2201, the Disability Tax Credit Certificate, detailing the effects of the impairment applicable to the basic activities of daily living. A qualified medical practitioner can be a medical doctor, optometrist, audiologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, or speech-language pathologist.
Still not sure? Take this question and answer quiz.
Generally, the Disability Tax Credit is usually given to people with frequent (at least a few times a month) complex-partial, tonic-clonic, or atonic seizures and/or people with epilepsy who also have other conditions that impair their daily activities (such as cognitive, physical, or mental conditions). As such, not all people with epilepsy will meet the CRA eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit.
Everyone with epilepsy is unique in their condition and their seizures affect them differently. Many people with epilepsy do not define themselves as having a disability, but some may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, however others may define themselves as having a disability and receive other disability services and financial aid, but may not be applicable for the Disability Tax Credit.
If you are eligible for this credit but are unable to use all or part of it because you have no taxable income – perhaps you did not work, or you earned a limited amount of money, you can transfer the credit it to your spouse, common-law partner, or other supporting person – so they will pay less or no income tax on their tax return.
For more information about the Disability Tax Credit, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.
3. If my child has epilepsy, does he/she qualify for the Child Disability Benefit?
The Child Disability Benefit (CDB) is a tax-free benefit of up to $2,455 per year for families who care for a child under age 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions.
To be eligible for the Child Disability Benefit (CDB), the child must first be approved to receive the Disability Tax Credit (see above) and the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). Not all children with medical conditions or disabilities are eligible for the child disability benefit. For example, children with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy (BREC) would not usually be eligible, unless the child also has a severe and prolonged physical or mental impairment. Children with only absence seizures are also not usually eligible.
You can determine the amount of income you can earn and still be entitled to the Child Disability Benefit by referring to the Child Disability Benefit Guideline Table.
For more information about the Child Disability Benefit, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.
4. Where can I get help with completing my taxes?
If you are unable to complete your income tax and benefit return by yourself and are unable to pay for assistance, a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) may be for you.
The CRA trains volunteers who can help you complete your income tax and benefit return if your income is low and your tax situation is simple.
Find a volunteer tax preparation clinic in your community here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/vlntr/clncs/bc-eng.html
5. Who can I contact for more information about my tax return?
Contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-959-8281 or visit their website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca
Posted by the BC Epilepsy Society at March 15, 2010 2:00 PM