Weirdest things Canadians have tried to claim on their taxes.
December 12, 2018
Let’s be real. Trying to figure out what you can and can’t claim on your tax return can be as hard as Keeping up with the Kardashians. If you’re wondering whether an item you purchased this year could be claimed on your tax return, you’re not alone.
Each year, H&R Block meets with hundreds of thousands of Canadians that are wondering the same thing – and sometimes these items are incredibly personal, or simply way outside the box. But H&R Block is never one to judge, in fact, we encourage all types of tax questions as it can lead to money back in your pocket.
To help, we have rounded up some of the questions we’ve received this year about whether an item can be claimed, as well as some overall tips from our tax experts when it comes time to filing your taxes.
1. Lottery tickets
The rationale was that they were an investment expense for retirement planning, in place of RRSPs.
Is it tax deduct ble? Lottery tickets cannot be claimed on a tax return, unless they’re for a charity lottery, where you may be able to claim some of the ticket price as a donation. If you hit the jackpot, you’ll be happy to hear that your winnings (as long as they’re from a Canadian lottery) will be tax-free. Consider that a double-win!
H&R Block Tax Tip: Banking on the lottery isn’t a good retirement plan, but contributing to an RRSP is! The money grows tax-free for many years, providing some comfort during those golden years. Plus, in the short-term, RRSP’s are a great way to lower income tax or increase your refund.
It’s for your health, so it should be tax deductible, right?
Is it tax deductible? While we don’t need to know your complete medical history, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) indicates items are tax-deductible only if prescribed by a doctor or other medical practitioner. Meaning, if vitamins was doctor-prescribed, then at least you’ll benefit from the experience in some way.
H&R Block Tax Tip: If your doctor prescribed it, you may be able to claim it! You can claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid during for during the year, including those for dependents.
3. Landscaping bills
If you work from home, just how many property expenses can you claim?
Is it tax deductible: If your work space is your principal place of business, you can claim expenses associated with your home office, including a portion of your landscaping costs. How much you can claim is determined by calculating the size of your home office as a percentage of your home’s total size. For example, let’s say your home office is 200 square feet out of your 2,000-square foot home. Given your office is 10 percent of the total square footage of your home, you could claim 10% of your landscaping costs.
H&R Block Tax Tip: Download our checklist to make sure you get big deductions for your small business.
4. Pet food
The idea was that pets should be listed as dependents, so that means their food should be claimed too.
Is it tax deductible? Unfortunately, pets cannot be considered dependents, no matter how much they feel like family, which means their food cannot be claimed either.
H&R Block Tax Tip: The good news is that human dependents can be claimed. As of 2017, you can claim the Canada Caregiver credit and that’s not all. You can also receive tax-free monthly payments for children under the age of 18 under the Canada Child Benefit.
5. Pet tarantulas
If special travel arrangements have to be made for three pet tarantulas, can it be claimed?
Is it tax deductible: No matter the number of legs, moving expenses incurred by all members of your household, including pets, can be claimed as a result of a job offer, but keep in mind that expenses are deductible only from employment or business income earned at your new job location.
H&R Block Tax Tip: Wondering what other moving expenses can be claimed? We’ve got answers. Check out our moving guide here.
Overall, it’s always a great idea to ask questions. This way, you can head into the upcoming tax season with a better idea of what credits and deductions you might be able to claim.