Medical expenses you don’t want to forget to claim in 2022.
February 7, 2022
Medical expenses are one of the most (if not the most) overlooked non-refundable tax deductions. Most Canadians know that they can claim some of their medical expenses, but many are unsure of what and how much they can claim.
In this article, we’ll go over what medical expenses are tax deductible, common expenses you can claim, and who you can claim medical expenses for.
To jump ahead in this article, click on the section that you need:
What counts as a medical expense?
Commonly missed medical expenses.
Who can you claim medical expenses for?
What counts as medical expenses for tax purposes?
When it comes to medical expenses you can claim, we understand this can be a confusing area. You can claim eligible medical expenses on your return if the expenses were:
- Paid by you or your spouse (common-law partners included).
- Paid in any 12-month period ending in 2021.
- Not claimed by you or by anyone else in 2020.
You can also claim all amounts paid, even if they weren’t paid in Canada. You can claim medical expenses for any 12-month period ending in 2021 and that you haven't already claimed in 2020. For example, for the 2021 tax year, you could claim expenses paid in 2020 and in 2021.
You can claim all or a portion of the medical expenses for which you’ve not been or will not be reimbursed. For example, let's say your health insurance plan reimbursed you for 80% of your medical expenses, you can only claim the remaining 20% on your return.
This brings us to the next question: what are eligible medical expenses? We’ll break this section down into two parts:
- Common medical expenses
- Commonly missed medical expenses
Common medical expenses.
It’s important to make sure your expense is eligible in your province or territory. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does admit that its list isn’t exhaustive.
To search a medical expense by name, or to see if you require a prescription, you can check out the CRA Medical Expense Chart.
Some common medical expenses can include:
- Prescription medication and drugs, although this doesn’t include over-the-counter medication.
- Amounts charged by medical practitioners (although the types of medical practitioners that qualify will vary depending on your province or territory, so double check on the CRA website).
- Bathroom aids (grab bars, grips, and rails).
- Hearing aids.
- Hospital care.
- Travel expenses to receive medical care outside your community if you travel more than 40 kilometres and the medical services are not available where you live.
- Insulin, needles, syringes to treat diabetes.
- Contact lenses, including equipment and materials for using contacts.
- Private health insurance premiums for medical care coverage.
- Medical Cannabis (the amounts paid for cannabis, cannabis oil, cannabis plant seeds, or cannabis products) if registered with a licensed supplier.
- Service animal costs which can include including food and veterinarian care.
- Ambulance service to or from a public or licensed private hospital.
It’s worth noting that you’ll need to hold on to your receipts when you claim these costs. If you file a paper return, you’ll have to attach your receipts. But it’s also good practice to save all your receipts if you file electronically in case the CRA requests them at a later date.
Commonly missed medical expenses.
Now, we get that understanding which medical expenses are eligible in the eyes of the CRA isn’t easy. Some medical expenses that improve the life of someone living with a medical condition can qualify as a valid expense for tax purposes. But bear in mind that some of these might require a doctor’s prescription.
Such expenses can include:
- Birth control pills prescribed by a doctor.
- Renovation or construction costs to help with access or greater mobility within one’s home, but certain conditions apply.
- Cosmetic and plastic surgery that is reconstructive or medical in nature (for example, artificial teeth, nose reconstructive surgery if resulting from an accident or disfiguring disease).
- Appliances like a furnace or air conditioner where it is prescribed because of a severe chronic respiratory ailment or immune system disorder.
- Gluten-free products for those with celiac disease.
- Tutoring for children with disabilities.
- Prescription sunglasses.
The same rules about holding on to your receipts would apply here too. So, unless you’re filing a paper return (in which you would have to attach all your receipts), hold on to any receipt in case the CRA requests to review them.
Who can I claim medical expenses for?
You can claim medical expenses for:
- Your spouse or common-law partner or
- Your or your spouse’s children under the age of 18
- Other relatives who depend on you for support (such as your or your spouse’s child or grandchild over 18, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew) – these are claimed under the dependant’s section in H&R Block’s tax software. Refer to our online Help Centre article for more information on claiming medical expenses for other dependants.
Still have a few more questions about how to claim medical expenses, or who should claim medical expenses and more? Check out our Help Article on medical expenses for more details!
Still have a couple of questions about medical expenses or feeling ready to file your return? H&R Block is here to help you get the most out of your return in whichever way is most comfortable for you. Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office , Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.