Do you take care of someone who has a long-term disability or serious illness? Do you also pay their medical bills? This can be a heavy load for anyone to carry. To help you, the government allows you to claim medical expenses for:
- your or your spouse's or common-law partner's dependent children
- other dependants. These include adult children or grandchildren, grandparents, and siblings.
Note that these expenses are claimed on a different line of your tax return than your own medical expense.
What expenses can I claim for my dependent?
For each dependant, you can claim medical expenses that you:
- have not claimed before on your tax return
- paid in any 12-month period ending in the current tax year.
Learn more now about which medical expenses qualify from the Canada Revenue Agency.
Did you know? You can claim premiums paid to private health care plans, as well as eyeglasses and hearing aids. You cannot claim fitness club fees and over-the-counter medications. And, under the 2010 budget, you cannot deduct purely cosmetic medical procedures.
How much can I deduct for these medical expenses?
You cannot deduct the full amount of your dependant's medical expenses each year. You must add them all up and then deduct either:
- 3% of your dependant's net income, or
- $2,024 (in 2010), whichever is lower.
You can claim the balance, up to a $10,000 maximum.
Tip: To claim the largest amount possible, claim the medical expenses on the tax return of the lower-income family member who pays tax. Also group your medical expenses into the 12-month period that gives you the biggest claim. You do not have to use the calendar year. For example, you could claim expense from June 1 to May 31, or from February 1 to January 31. But you must use the same 12-month period that you use to claim your own personal medical expenses.
Remember: taking care of an ill or infirm dependent may be one of the hardest things you ever do.
To make it easier financially, be sure to claim your dependant's medical costs. You may want to talk to a tax planning expert to help you take full advantage of these deductions. Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.