I have to renovate my home to accommodate my disability, is there a tax credit for that?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

Shower BenchThere comes a time when age may not allow you to get around as well as you used to, or something tragic happens that limits your mobility or ability to live in your current home. Whatever the reason you can write off expenses to make your home more accessible. These construction/renovation expenses are classed under medical expenses and deducted accordingly. These expenses are classified as medical expenses and claimed on Line 330. You may also claim these expenses for a dependent that lives with you.

Renovation or construction expenses

You can write off the amounts paid for changes to give a person access to (or greater mobility or functioning within) your home, when that person has severe and prolonged mobility impairment or lacks normal physical development.

Costs for renovating or altering an existing dwelling or the incremental costs in building your principal place of residence may be incurred. These costs can be claimed minus any related rebates such as for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST).

Renovation or construction expenses have to be reasonable (as per Canada Revenue Agency) and meet the following conditions:

  • They would not typically be expected to increase the value of the dwelling; and
  • Persons who have normal physical development or who do not have severe and prolonged mobility impairment would not normally incur them.

Make sure you get a breakdown of the costs. Costs could include:

  • Buying and installing outdoor or indoor ramps if you cannot use stairs;
  • Enlarging halls and doorways to give you access to the various rooms of your dwelling; and
  • Lowering kitchen or bathroom cabinets so you can use them.

While these incurred costs to renovate or alter a dwelling to accommodate the use of a wheelchair may qualify as medical expenses under the conditions described above, these types of expenses related to other types of impairment may also qualify. In all cases, you must keep receipts and any other related documents to support your claim. Also, you must be able to show that your particular circumstances and the expenses incurred meet all of the conditions mentioned above.

Examples of common renovation or construction expenses that would generally not be considered eligible medical expenses, because they would be expected to increase the value of the dwelling or because they would normally be incurred by persons who have normal physical development or who do not have a severe and prolonged mobility impairment, include:

  • Hardwood flooring;
  • Hot tubs; and
  • Pools.

The types of renovations or alterations that could be eligible are not restricted to the above examples. Claims would be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is a question of fact whether your or a particular renovation or alteration will qualify. Of course, the onus is on your to prove that the conditions to qualify for this medical expense have been met.

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