Tax Season: Don’t forget about your health

tax_blogDid you know you can claim eligible health expenses on your income tax return? Most of us don’t bother. Why not?

A lot of it has to do with knowing what’s eligible and taking the time to keep track of those expenditures throughout the year. One receipt may not make much of a difference—but minor costs throughout the year can add up.

I have a health plan—can I still claim expenses on my income tax?

A health plan is important to protect your health, but levels of coverage can be diverse. Depending on your individual plan or employee coverage, some therapies or supplies like massages and contact lenses may only be partially covered or have an annual limit. If you pay for medical services or products not reimbursed by your plan, many of these costs can be submitted when filing your income tax.

When is it ok to claim expenditures if I have a health plan?

You can claim expenses as long as you have not already been reimbursed for the health product or service and you’re not planning on submitting for reimbursement somewhere else.tax_blog2

Say your health plan covered five visits to a massage therapist for the year – but you reached your limit before the year was over and paid for the sixth visit yourself. If your plan doesn’t let you carry over to the next year, your sixth visit could be eligible for coverage when you file your income tax. You can claim eligible medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in 2014 and not claimed by you or anyone else in 2013.

What types of things can be claimed?

Eligible medical expenses defined by the CRA are pretty vast—everything from vitamin B12 to household adaptions for accessibility. The CRA also offers an extensive list of eligible services from authorized medical practitioners like naturopath therapists and social workers.  Depending on the health care service or product a prescription may be needed.

Keep track for next year

Already filed your taxes? Didn’t keep receipts? It’s not too late to start for next year. By taking a few minutes to learn what types of expenses are eligible as defined by the CRA you can be a wise health care consumer. Keep receipts or start a medical journal for next year’s tax season. It’s a smart way to keep your health care affordable.

For more on eligibility for medical expenses check out the CRA web site here

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