What tax breaks are there for incontinence?
Although spring is in the air, Canadians know that also means tax time is around the corner. It never hurts to start getting paperwork in order before deadlines loom - including collecting receipts that might give you a break.
Take advantage of available (but not well known) tax credits
Surely you are familiar with Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax Guide, right? You know, the tome that goes into excruciating detail about expenses you can claim at tax time?
Well, let us save you a bit of time. Hidden away, you’ll find accepted medical expenses include:
"Diapers or disposable briefs for a person who is incontinent because of an illness, injury or affliction."
"Catheters, catheter trays, tubing, or other products needed for incontinence caused by illness, injury, or affliction."
Whether adult diapers or disposable briefs or other incontinence products are needed for post-prostate surgery, special needs, dementia, bed wetting or other medical conditions, there is no difference in the tax treatment.
If you'd like to double check particular items, you can get a ruling from CRA and see what they say (but it might take a bit of time to get it, so ask early).
Regardless, we recommend that you consult with your tax advisor to confirm the items you would like to include.
Please feel free to share this blog post with your tax advisor so she or he can verify CRA as the source of this information.
Ultimately though, if you are dealing with incontinence for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, keep those receipts and claim those expenses.
One accountant told us it is staggering how many people are not aware of this bit of potential tax relief
My Liberty is here to help you find the right incontinence products as soon as the need arises. We offer adult diapers (also called briefs), disposable underwear, pads or liners for inside underwear, swim suits, bed and chair pads and wipes or cleansers — delivered right to your door.
If you haven’t kept your receipts but you’ve purchased incontinence products from My Liberty, you can simply sign into your account to download each receipt as a PDF:
Look for the "Download PDF" links. Each purchase will generate a separate receipt for you to download:
There are no guarantees that your expenses will be accepted, of course — the deduction is related to your income and you may be asked to show the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that your need is based on “illness, injury or affliction.”
Note that most provinces and territories offer additional chances to write off the medical expenses. Don't forget to check those, too.
You may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
You may also be able to get the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) — yes, incontinence is considered a disability — if your abilities are “markedly restricted.” To qualify for the disability tax credit, your physician will need to certify that you meet certain conditions:
- The 'impairment' must be prolonged, which means it has to have lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months
- The impairment in physical or mental functions must be severe and it must restrict him or her all or substantially all of the time
- Severe and prolonged impairment must be certified using Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, by a qualified practitioner.
Read more about the eligibility criteria from the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you or a dependent have already been approved for this disability tax credit, or if you believe you may qualify, please let your accountants know by providing a copy of your Disability Tax Credit determination (eligibility).
To apply, you’ll need to fill out Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate.
Admittedly, there is some paperwork involved — your doctor has to fill out papers, too — and some high-income earners may not qualify but the effort is well worth it.
Because if your application is approved and you have a doctor’s signature, you claim all the diapers and pads you’ve had to buy over the past 10 years. Nice!
Have you heard about the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit (CCC)?
If you support a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment, the Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC) is a non-refundable tax credit that may be available to you.
The amount you can claim will depend on a number of things - your relationship to the person for whom you are claiming the CCC, your circumstances, the person’s net income, and whether other credits are being claimed for that person.
For example, there are different levels if you are claiming for your spouse or common-law partner, for an eligible dependant under / older than 18. Learn more about the Canada Caregiver Credit.
So, you may be able to write off incontinence products or get either a Disability Tax Credit of a Caregiver Tax Credit. Now that’s relief!
Need help preparing tax forms?
If you have a modest income and a simple tax return, volunteers may be able to prepare your tax return for you. Get more information from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).
In 2021, a Financial Post article provided more details:
"With assistance from the CRA, community organizations throughout Canada operate on a volunteer basis to host tax preparation clinics and prepare tax returns for eligible individuals.
“When the pandemic hit, the (community) organizations were in the middle of their peak filing season,” explained Heather Daniels, director general of the benefit programs directorate at the CRA. “They all had to close due to the social distancing measures.
We thought it was going to be a two week break at the time…. It took us a little bit of time to realize this isn’t going away, so, in May 2020, we announced the implementation of virtual tax clinics.”
If you are on the other side of the fence and can help someone else complete their return, volunteer opportunities are available, too.
Related resources from My Liberty:
- Insurance direct billing and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) direct billing
- How To: use ODSP Direct Pay to order incontinence supplies from My Liberty
- Why order OSDP-covered incontinence supplies from My Liberty? Better selection & friendly, helpful service.
- Cindy Clegg
Thank you for providing this income tax information! I wish we had known about it several years ago. Caring for a parent with incontinence and early dementia, while working and living separately from them, is a mental and emotional challenge. I seldom have the energy for investigating all the avenues of what benefits are available to us. Really appreciate your thoughtfulness and sincere care for your clients!