The Medical Expense Tax Credit and Learning Disabilities

(line 330 on the Income Tax Form)
These explanations are taken from a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) document Medical and Disability-Related Information 2012, and 2004 articles by Claudette Laroque of LDA Canada.

There are a number of services that it may be possible to claim as medical expenses on income tax, either by an individual with Learning Disabilities or a family member on behalf of an individual with Learning Disabilities.  You can claim on line 330 of the income tax form the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for.

You can claim eligible medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in 2012 and not claimed by you or anyone else in 2011.  Read more at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/nen-tx/rtrn/smpltng/ddctns/Ins300-350/330/menu-eng.html

You should not rely on this guide alone to determine whether you can claim any of the expenses reviewed here under the Medical Expenses Tax Credit of the Income Tax Act.  Tax decisions should not be made simply on the basis of this information article.  You are welcome to copy this article and give a copy to your tax advisor and consult them.

Some eligible medical expenses that may apply to persons with Learning Disabilities:

    1. Medical services provided by qualified medical practitioners, providing that fees are for diagnostic, therapeutic or rehabilitative services.  Qualified medical practitioners include psychologists, qualified speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and occupational therapists.  The cost of a psychological assessment would be included under this item, as would assessment or treatment by other qualified medical practitioners.
    2. School for persons with an impairment in physical or mental functions.  A medical practitioner must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities, or personnel specially provided by that school are required because of the person’s physical or mental impairment.
      The interpretation bulletin states in Section 29:  “A patient (for example, a dependent) suffering from a behavioural problem arising out of a mental or physical impairment or suffering from a Learning Disability, including dyslexia, who attends a school that specializes in the care and training of persons who have the same type of problem or disability is considered to qualify under paragraph 118.2(2)(e), and the expenses paid for the patient are qualifying medical expenses even though some part of the expenses could be construed as being tuition fees.”                       The following conditions must be met:
    • a medical practitioner (e.g. psychologist) has certified in writing that the individual is a person with a diagnosed Learning Disability and because of the lack of appropriate resources and services in the public school system, the student needs to access the specialized services of the school;
    • the school must specialize in teaching students with Learning Disabilities;
    • the school has certified in writing that the individual is a person who, because of a diagnosed Learning Disability and the lack of appropriate resources and services in the public school system, needs to access the specialized services of the school and has been in attendance at the school for the income tax year in question;
    • the school must supply a detailed description of the child’s specialized program.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             3.  Talking textbooks in connection with enrolment ast a secondary school in Canada or a designated educational institution for a person who has a perceptual disability.  A medical practitioner must certify in writing that the expense is necessary.  Individuals with Learning Disabilities which affect reading and reading comprehension are considered to have a perceptual disability under the Canadian Copyright Act.  The following conditions must be met:
    • a medical practitioner or psychologist has certified in writing that the individual is a person diagnosed with a Learning Disability and who, because of a Learning Disability, needs to access talking textbooks for educational purposes;
    • proof that the individual is enrolled at an educational institution in Canada for which the talking textbooks are need due to the Learning Disability.                                                                                              Unfortunately, at this time, the cost of assistive computer software, even text-to-speech software that creates talking textbooks, is not included in the list of eligible items, unless the user is blind ((I) An optical scanner or similar device designed to enable an individual who is blind to read print.)                                                                                                                                                                           4.  Reading services provided to a person who is blind or has a severe Learning Disability and paid to someone in the business of providing these services.  A medical practitioner must certify in writing that these services are necessary.                                                                                                                                                                                       5.  Tutoring services that are supplementary to the primary education of a person with a Learning Disability or an impairment in mental functions, and paid to a person in the business of providing these services to individuals who are not related to the person.  Tutoring services may be designed to remedy basic academic skills notably, reading, spelling, written expression and mathematics when the delay in acquisition of basic academic skills is secondary to specific Learning Disabilities; or to remedy deficits and maximize strengths in the Learning Disabilities profile including organizational strategies, study skills, time management, coordination activities, social skills training, strategies to improve attention, memory, reasoning, logic, communication, and non-verbal visual-perceptual abilities.  To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
    • tutoring services are supplemented to the individual’s primary education;
    • a medical practitioner or psychologist certifies in writing that the individual is a person who, because of a Learning Disability, requires the tutoring services to supplement the individual’s primary education and;
    • a letter from the school principal/resource teacher confirming the diagnosis of Learning Disabilities, and the need for tutoring services to supplement the child’s education;
    • a letter from the tutoring business certifying that the child is in receipt of tutoring services because of their Learning Disability along with starting date and a detailed description of the child’s program with the tutor;
    • tutoring is provided by someone ordinarily engaged in the business of providing tutoring services to the public and is not related to the patient.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6.  Note-taking services used by a person with an impairment in physical or mental functions and paid to someone in the business of providing these services.  A medical practitioner must certify in writing that these services are necessary.  Note:  CRA, through the Disability Tax Credit Certificate, categorizes Learning Disabilities under mental function.

Key Tips

You do not need to apply for the Disability Tax Credit Certificate (Form T2201) to claim any of the above eligible medical expenses.  Services purchased must be provided by someone ordinarily engaged in the business of providing such a service to the public and must not be related to the patient.  The following written documentation must accompany a claim:

  • a letter (copies of assessment are not necessary) from a medical practitioner that certifies the individual is a person who, because of a diagnosed Learning Disability, requires the service;
  • a letter from the service provider certifying that the individual is in receipt of such a service because of their Learning Disability along with a detailed description of the individual’s program with the service provider;
  • original receipts of services purchased (please keep a copy for your files).