Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) for Canadians
In the 2005 Canadian Federal Budget, after many years of effort by Solarc Systems, “phototherapy equipment for psoriasis and other skin disorders” was added to the list of medical expense tax credit eligible expenses per the Canadian Income Tax Act Medical Tax Credit 118.2 (2) (i).
This means that you can claim the cost of a home phototherapy device on your income tax form. The amount refunded will depend on your income and the total amount of your medical expenses (this also opens the door for possible coverage by your employer’s private health insurance plan or a health care spending account, as there is usually a policy that only devices covered by the METC are eligible. There are however no guarantees that coverage will be provided).
Note that “phototherapy equipment…” is classified by the METC such that a medical practitioner’s prescription is not required. However, obtaining a prescription might be worthwhile if you intend to make a claim with your employer’s health care insurance plan. See also our: Prescriptions and Tips for Insurance pages.
Also note that, per 2008 Federal Publication RC4064: Medical and Disability-Related Information, “You can claim the amount paid to buy, operate, and maintain this equipment”, so a METC claim can be made for both the initial purchase of the device and later any future expenses such as replacement ultraviolet bulbs (which are typically not required for at least 5 to 10 years of personal device use).
Detailed information on the Medical Expense Credit can be found in the following locations:
Note that, because the government’s website addresses (url’s) change frequently, we suggest that you use the -Search- features within the appropriate government website.
Income Tax Act, Medical Tax Credit, 118.2(2)(i) – “(i) for, or in respect of, an artificial limb, an iron lung, …[other devices listed]…, phototherapy equipment for psoriasis and other skin disorders, or an oxygen concentrator, for the patient;” Located at the Department of Justice’s Justice Laws Website. The Income Tax Act file is very large, so it could take a while to download. “Phototherapy” or “Psoriasis” are probably the best search terms. The -Search- tool is not case sensitive. [Note that medical devices that do require a medical practitioner’s prescription are instead referenced in 118.2(2)(m) and listed in detail in the Income Tax “Regulations” (not the “Act”) at Part LVII (section 5700). Phototherapy equipment is not on that list.]
Information Bulletin “IT519R2” – Medical Expense and Disability Tax Credits and Attendant Care Expense Deduction. Also located at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Website.
RC4064 Medical and Disability-Related Information – Includes Form T2201 – 2008 Located at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Website. A list of “Eligible Medical Expenses” is provided, along with indication if any “certifications” are required (such as the need for a prescription). Among the listings is: “Phototherapy equipment for use in the treatment of psoriasis or other skin disorders. You can claim the amount paid to buy, operate, and maintain this equipment.” This entry appears without any certification requirements, indicating that a prescription is not required to claim the METC; and in agreement with the other references. Many other related documents and forms can be found on this website.
Provincial Medical Expense Claims
Canadian provinces also provide tax credits for Medical Expenses.
For example, in Ontario, medical expenses are entered on line 5868 of Schedule “ON428” in “T1 General”. Publication “5006-N Completing Your Ontario Forms T1 General”, located on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Website, states that “The allowable medical expenses you can claim on line 5868 are the same as those you can claim on line 330 of your federal Schedule 1”. For all other provinces and territories except Quebec, the same line number 5868 and statement applies.
For Quebec, refer to the 2015 Quebec Medical Expense Guide (Publication IN-130-V), which appears to mirror the Federal treatment, including allowance for operating & maintenance expenses, and that no prescription is required.