Federal and provincial governments provide income support to Canadians in the form of tax credits and saving accounts. To help simplify the process, we have compiled a list of tax credits that may be of interest to our Crohn’s and colitis community.
You will need to further investigate the criteria, and in some cases, such as the Disability Tax Credit, you will need to apply in order to qualify for the tax credit. Please note that tax credits are classified as 'refundable' or 'non-refundable'. Non-refundable tax credits generally reduce your taxes owing. If a tax credit is identified as non-refundable, you will not get extra money back if you have more tax credits than taxes owing. We have included links to help you learn about these requirements and how to apply. These benefits will also require support from your medical practitioner in order to qualify.
The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax that helps an individual living with a ‘severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions’ receive credit on their annual personal taxes. You must first meet the requirements and then apply to the federal government in order to claim the DTC on your income tax. The good news is that the government does consider bowel or bladder functions as a qualifying condition. You can learn more about the definition of bowel or bladder functions here.
The federal government issues credits for the Medical Expense Tax Credit. At this link you will find a list of items that can be claimed and how to make the claim on annual returns.
The Canada Pension Plan disability benefit (CPP-D) is a taxable monthly payment that is available to people, under the age of 65, who have contributed to CPP and who are not able to work regularly at any job because of a disability. The CPP disability benefit is not designed to pay for such things as medications and assistive devices. Find more information here.
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities, under the age of 60, and their families save for the future. This savings plan helps parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a disabled person. The Government of Canada assists by paying a matching Canada Disability Savings Grant. Individuals who open an RDSP may also be eligible to receive a Canada Disability Savings Bond. More details here.
The Canada Revenue Agency provides general information about all the above related disability credits at www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/disability. You can view short video segments that discuss each disability related tax credit.
Launched in 2013, the Family Caregiver Tax Credit is a non-refundable credit that provides tax relief to those who care for a person who is dependent on the individual because of an impairment in mental or physical functions. The family caregiver amount is not tied to the disability tax credit. Take an online quiz to see if you qualify.
You can read more about the Family Caregiver Tax Credit here.
To learn more about provincial and other federal tax benefits, visit the Canada Benefits website. It is a useful tool whereindividuals view available tax credits and programs based on their individual circumstance. Here is the link where you can find out more information.
As of January 3rd, 2016 the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits were extended from 6 to up to 26 weeks. This will help provide Canadian caregivers financial support for long-term caregiving for terminally ill family members. This has been a result of the advocacy work that Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, together with our partners at the Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC), achieved over the past year. These benefits can also be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada will work with our health charity partners to call for the expansion to caregivers of those living with chronic conditions. To learn more about these expanded benefits, click here