What is attendant care and can I claim it on my tax return?
Attendant care expenses are wages paid to employees providing services and care to a person who needs assistance to complete tasks required for daily living. This includes food preparation, housekeeping, laundry services, and health care. These expenses can be for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, or a dependent. This care can be given in an institution or at home. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides guidelines for who is eligible to claim attendant care expenses as a medical expense on your tax return. These guidelines are broken down into two categories; for those who qualify for the disability tax credit and for those who do not qualify.
1. Not Eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
If you do not qualify (or have not applied) for the disability tax credit, you may still be eligible to claim attendant care expenses. In order to claim these expenses, you must have a medical practitioner certify in writing that you are, and will continue to be, dependent on others for your personal needs and care because of physical or mental impairment. The following attendant care expenses can then be claimed on your return:
- Fees paid for full-time care in a nursing home
- Full-time attendant care at home
- Care, or training and care, at a school, or other institution (such as a detoxification clinic)
2. Eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
If you are eligible for the disability tax credit, you can choose to claim all your attendant care fees but no disability tax credit, or the disability tax credit and a maximum of $10,000 in attendant care fees. In the year of the taxpayer’s death, this maximum increases to $20,000. This is optional, allowing the choice that results in less tax on a year by year basis.
If you are living in a nursing home, you can choose to claim all your nursing home fees or the disability amount, but not both.
There are two cases where you are eligible to claim the disability amount and attendant care expenses:
- Salaries and wages for care in a group home in Canada
- Care, or training and care, at a school, institution, or other place (such as a detoxification clinic)
If you think you may qualify for the disability tax credit, you should apply. This credit can be very beneficial and can provide more opportunities for saving money on your income tax return. You can download the application by clicking here. A medical professional must fill out and sign the application.