An individual can generally claim reasonable travel costs incurred for medical purposes as a medical expense only where substantially equivalent medical services are unavailable where the taxpayer resides. The following two Technical Interpretations discuss the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA’s) position on this matter.
In an April 5, 2013 Technical Interpretation, CRA considered whether initial travel costs incurred to participate in a foreign medical experimental drug research project and subsequent foreign travel costs after the drug became available in his locality would be considered a valid medical expense.
When the drug became available in Canada, the taxpayer’s Canadian doctor advised the taxpayer to continue monitoring with the foreign doctor who had more expertise with the taxpayer’s condition and the specific drug. CRA agreed that the reasonableness test was likely met even though medical services were available in a closer location, and would be considered a medical expense.
In another April 5, 2013 Technical Interpretation, CRA discussed a scenario where, even though medical services were provided by local medical practitioners, the taxpayer was unable to secure the services of a local practitioner due to a shortage of medical practitioners. CRA indicated the fact that services were not being available was sufficient to support a claim for medical travel. In this case, the taxpayer’s claim for travel to his previous residence to continue receiving treatment from his previous doctor in that area would meet the medical expense requirements.
Action Item: Travel for medical services may be considered a medical expense in certain scenarios. Contact us to see if your medical travel may qualify.
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