Is there a deduction for looking after an adult parent?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

heart shaped symbol as medical technology,clipping pathWe’re coming into an age when many of us are going to be looking after one, or both, of our parents. This can be a great expense for you, as many people haven’t saved enough for retirement, or made contingencies for when they cannot care for themselves (I have invested in home care insurance so I can be looked after when I’m unable). So, what is available to you when you’re looking after an elderly parent?

Amount for an eligible dependent

This amount applies if you don’t have a spouse, or common-law partner, you supported the dependent during the year, and you maintained a home that the dependent lived in. This has to be someone who you financially supported, so generally someone with little income. Only one person can make the claim for this amount during the year. The dependent can be your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption. They must live with you full time and not just be visiting that year.

Caregiver Amount

You may be able to claim the caregiver amount if, you (either alone or with another person) maintained a dwelling where you and one or more of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parents/grandparents lived. They must dependent on you due to impairment in physical or mental functions. The parent or grandparent has to have been born in 1948 or earlier. This amount is more geared towards someone who is helping his or her parent/grandparent due to them becoming dependent before getting elderly (under 65 during the year).

Family Caregiver Amount

If you can claim the caregiver amount then you may be able to claim the Family Caregiver Amount too. This amount can be claimed when your parent is dependent on you because of impairment in physical or mental functions. You must have a signed statement from a medical practitioner showing when the impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be. You can claim the FCA for more than one eligible dependent.

Allowable amount of medical expenses for other dependents

You can claim those eligible medical expenses you’ve paid on behalf of a parent who depended upon you for support. Some of those expenses can include: hearing aids, walking aids, wheelchairs, vehicle modifications, and more. You must have paid for these expenses yourself, not your parent.

You still have to use the 3% deduction as you would for medical expenses for yourself, using the parent’s income.

Also, there are certain medical expenses you can claim only with a Disability Tax Credit Certificate. You must make sure that one has been filed on the parent’s behalf prior to claiming the medical expenses.

As most tax returns are electronically filed today, CRA will request to see the receipts when the amount is high. So, ensure you have receipts for the medical expenses you claim. If you do get a request for medical receipts, please make copies of them all just in case they get lost.

Attendant care or care in an establishment claimed as medical expenses

You can claim the amounts paid for attendant care expenses as medical expenses, or as a disability supports deduction. However, the total you claim cannot be more than the total amount paid.

You may claim full-time attendant care services if you are eligible for the disability tax credit, or a medical practitioner certifies in writing that these services are necessary and that your impairment is likely to be indefinite. You can claim for part-time attendant care services only if your parent is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC).

Disability amount transferred from a dependent

You may have a dependent that is able to claim the disability amount, and that person may not need to claim all or part of that amount on his or her income tax and benefit return. Under certain conditions, your dependent may be able to transfer this amount to you. If your dependent is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC), you may be able to claim all or part of his disability amount on your tax return.

As you can see there are many ways you can claim a dependent parent. It’s best to talk to your parent, their medical practitioner, and your tax professional to ensure that you are getting the best for your parent and yourself.

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