Springtime means tax time. And if you’re planning to have laser eye surgery in 2012 you’ll be glad to know that not only can you look forward to better vision, there’s also tax benefits.
Tax Tips for Canadian Laser Eye Surgery Patients
Every medical plan is a bit different, so you should definitely double check your own coverage and talk to your accountant or tax advisor, but in many cases laser eye surgery is covered by company medical plans. If it isn’t, it is still a tax-deductible expense – calculated based upon your income. The total costs must exceed three per cent of your net income and only the portion that exceeds your net income is claimed. Example: if your net income is $30,000, your medical expenses have to exceed $900 ($30,000 x 3%) and you can only claim the expenses over $900.
When you claim your laser eye surgery (and any other medical expenses), enter the amount on line 330 of your tax return. If you are claiming for a dependent, the amount goes on line 331. You cannot claim any expense which has been or can be reimbursed (such as through group medical coverage). However, you can claim the full expense if the reimbursement is included in your income, such as a benefit shown on a T4 slip, and you did not deduct the reimbursement anywhere else on your income tax and benefit return.
Taxpayers may claim qualifying medical expenses they paid in the taxation year, or in any period of twelve months ending in the taxation year. Any twelve-month period ending in the year may be selected to determine the most advantageous total for medical expenses. This could mean reporting expenses from June 2008 to May 2009 to give you the largest total to claim.
Even if you have medical or dental insurance that reimburses you for your health costs, you can still claim the portion of expenses that the insurance plan does not cover. And the premiums you pay for private health insurance, such as those deducted directly from your paycheque, can also be included as a medical expense.
There’s no doubt that the financial benefits of group plans can help make procedures such as laser eye surgery more accessible to more people. But the administrative costs can put coverage out of reach for a lot of smaller businesses. Now a program some are calling ‘the best kept small business tax secret’ could help. If the company you work for or own is incorporated, but doesn’t have group coverage, a new option called a Health Spending Account may make laser eye surgery more affordable for you and your employees.
Health Spending Account providers manage custom benefits packages for small companies that can’t afford a big group benefits package. Although it’s not just limited to small companies. The BC provincial government offers an HSA program to excluded employees of the BC Public Service and UBC also has an HSA for some employee groups to offer two local examples. If you want to learn more about these ‘secret savings’ google the term ‘health spending accounts’ for a number of resources you can investigate. BoydVision makes no endorsement or recommendation for particular programs.
Which medical expenses are eligible? – Government of Canada medical expenses eligibility