By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy
You know when tax season hits because everyone stops by the pharmacy for income tax print outs. If you are unfamiliar with our print-outs it is simply a list and total amount of medication expenses. It is a lot more convenient than saving all of your prescription receipts throughout the year.
I really didn’t know how claiming prescription costs and other medical expenses on income tax works so I set out on a little research mission. Some of my information was retrieved off government websites and the rest of the information was provided by Lisa Menard, an accountant in Dauphin. I have tried to generalize the information as much as possible, so you should always speak to the person doing your taxes, before submitting medical expenses.
Your family’s prescription medications can be claimed in the medical expenses category when doing your income tax. However; you will likely not see any benefit, unless your total medical expenses reach 3% of your net income. For example if your net family income is $50 000 in a given year, you would have to have over $1500 in medical expenses during a twelve month period.
If you do not meet the 3% limit, medical expenses cannot be carried over to the next year. However; the 3% can be reached in any 12 month period. If your medical expenses increased over two different calendar years and reach the 3%, it may be beneficial to make a claim for that specific 12 month period.
Beside prescription medications; ambulance services, dental work, prescription eyewear, diabetic supplies and medical braces can all be used as a medical expense. It is important to point out services provided by massage therapists are not tax deductible in Manitoba. Chiropractor, physiotherapist, dietician and audiologist services can all be claimed for income tax purposes.
Necessary medical travel can also be claimed. If you are referred to a specialist in another city, mileage and meals can both be claimed. For example, if you are referred to a specialist in Winnipeg, you can claim a mileage and meal expense for the trip. If medical services are not available in your community and you must travel more than 40 kilometers to see a health care professional, you may claim your travel expenses. For those listeners in small communities who do not offer health services, such as Pine River or Waterhen, make sure to keep track of your medical trips. Either keep your receipts or a simplified formula can be used which uses standard rates for both mileage and meals.
Perhaps you have a third party plan such as Blue Cross, Sun Life or Great West Life. If you are paying into one of these plans, the amount paid is also tax deductible. So make sure to send in these receipts to your accountant. If your employer is paying these expenses they cannot be claimed.
Be careful what you are claiming because some health related items are not eligible to be claimed. For example over the counter medications cannot be claimed, even if they are written as a prescription. Medications paid by Manitoba Pharmacare, workers compensation or other payers, cannot be claimed by you. Cosmetic procedures and blood pressure monitors also do not qualify.
I would like to thank Lisa Menard, of Zaplitny and Zamrykut, for providing some very valuable information. For most people the deadline for filing income tax returns is April 30th so be sure you get it done!
We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca
The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.