Explaining essential tax facts: Credits and deductions for infirm and disabled dependants
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By Knowledge Bureau  | Thursday, January 25, 2018



By Evelyn Jacks

Caring for a loved one with a disability? CRA may contact you to verify your claim for the new Canada Caregiver Amount or the Disability Amount. For these reasons, it’s important to draw the distinction between “infirm” and “disabled,” for different provisions on the tax return.

An infirm dependant is one who has “an impairment of physical or mental functions.” A child under 18 will be considered to be “infirm” only if he or she is likely to be, for an indefinite duration, dependent on others for significantly more assistance in attending to personal needs, compared to children of the same age. This person can be claimed for the Canada Caregiver Credit.

It is interesting to note that with the new Canada Caregiver Credit, there is no longer a requirement that the dependant reside with the taxpayer. Nor does the CRA have any specific documentation requirements. However, CRA may ask for a signed statement from a medical practitioner verifying when the impairment started and how long it is expected to continue. In the case of children under 18, CRA will want to know whether the child will be dependent on other adults for a specific or an indefinite period of time. Remember also, there are some options for claiming the credit in the year of separation, divorce or co-habitation, so be sure you know these new Essential Tax Facts.

A disabled dependant is one who has a “severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions.” To qualify as disabled, a Disability Tax Credit Certificate (T2201) must be completed and signed by a medical practitioner to certify that the individual is disabled. In addition, CRA must accept the certificate.

Other credits for infirm and disabled taxpayers include:

* Child Care Deduction – An enhanced child care deduction of up to $11,000 can be claimed for disabled dependants, but only if they qualify for the Disability Amount and have a Disability Tax Credit certificate, signed by a medical practitioner and accepted by CRA.

* Disability Supports Deduction – A medical doctor must certify that the supports, including attendant care are required; a Disability Tax Credit certificate is not required.

* Disability Amount – claimed for severe and prolonged disabilities expected to last more than 12 months. A Disability Tax Credit certificate signed by a medical practitioner is required to make this claim.

* Medical Expenses — The amounts claimable here fall into two categories: 1) expenses for your own nuclear family – yourself, your spouse (including common-law) and minor children; and 2) a claim for the infirm adults you may be supporting: adult children, parents, grandchildren, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, (including in-laws).

All the various credits providing tax relief for families who are dealing with the costs of supporting the sick or disabled are often interconnected, and often audited.

This article originally appeared in the Knowledge Bureau Report, © 2018 by The Knowledge Bureau, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Follow Evelyn Jacks on Twitter @EvelynJacks. Visit her blog at www.evelynjacks.com.

Evelyn Jacks’ latest book, NEW ESSENTIAL TAX FACTS: How to Make the Right Tax Moves and Be Audit-Proof, Too will be published in February and is now available for pre-order.

Notes and Disclaimer

©2018 by Fund Library. All rights reserved.

The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion of the writer. No guarantee of investment performance is made or implied. It is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice.

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