Many people living with Celiac Disease and cannot process the protein Gluten found in many food items. But did you know that you can claim those on your tax return as a legitimate medical expense? Yes it’s true! But there are limitations.
Here is how it works: The CRA website states you can claim the incremental costs of Gluten Free food. Well what does this mean? It means you must have the cost of a similar item that is not Gluten Free and subtract that from the cost of the Gluten Free item. So if a loaf of bread costs regular $3.00, and the Gluten Free loaf of bread costs $6.00, then you can claim just $3.00 of the Gluten Free loaf of bread. If you are going the more frugal route, which some do and purchase flour to make your own breads, then you would get the price of a regular package of flour and compare it the Gluten Free package of flour and claim the difference. So in a nutshell you can claim the difference in cost between a non Gluten Free item and a similar item that is Gluten Free. The CRA must also have a copy of a letter from your physician stating you have Celiac Disease.
Yes but is it worth it. Well considering how expensive Gluten Free products are it can be. But it depends on your income. For medical expenses to have any affect on your tax return the medical expenses must be at least 3% of your income. You must also be willing to put in the effort to keep track of everything for accurate records. This is essential as some prices may be cheaper at the start of the year on regular priced items and then more expensive at the end of the year. Which in the case of 2015 where our dollar dropped a lot, the amounts could vary a lot. But think of technology as your friend in helping you out. Yes you have to keep your receipts for the Gluten Free products, but just take a picture of the non gluten free item with your smartphone and record everything in a spreadsheet. You can plug in the formulas in a spreadsheet to carry down in cells and once you have made up the spreadsheet all you have to do is plug in the numbers. Many software programs for taxes that professional tax preparers use have a feature where you can upload files with the tax return. You must keep the receipts for 7 years in case of an audit, and the spreadsheet or form you use is also good to keep in case of an audit.
You can’t claim gluten free soaps, shampoos or other grooming products. But if you have a prescription for any special grooming products that are not available without a prescription they can be claimed. Alcoholic beverages that are Gluten Free cannot be claimed either. If some of the Gluten Free products are being consumed by other family members that don’t have Celiac Disease then you can only claim the portion that you used of the Gluten Free products.
As always it is good to talk to professional tax preparers like us to make sure you are getting the most out of your taxes.