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Canadian Tax Questions
April 25, 2012 7:35 PM   Subscribe

A few questions about filing taxes for 2011 in Canada, mostly about lines 330-331.

This is the first time I'm doing it on my own; previously I had a family friend do it for me, and I've only been living in Canada for over 2 years now.

So I'm filing for 2011.

1. In early 2010 I spent about $1,000 on orthodontic work. Is it too late to claim it on line 330?

2. In late 2010 my parents visited me in Toronto and my Dad had to visit the ER, where we racked up about $2,500 in bills. Is it too late to claim that on line 331?

If yes to number 2:

2b. My sister and I live together, and I earn more than her. If my Dad's medical expenses can be claimed, would it be better for her to claim it or for me to claim it?
posted by althanis to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Call the CRA and ask (second number on page).
posted by Dasein at 7:51 PM on April 25, 2012

April 30th is the deadline to file taxes; however, I have heard that the government can be flexible with deadlines in comparison to the states.

So, it's not to late to make a claim for either of these things. But, I believe that your sister would benefit more for claiming the ER expenses since she earns less money than you.

In regards to your second question, it's better for the person that earns less to claim for certain expenses. My dad's accountant me that I should claim for last year's rent because I earn less than my dad.
posted by livinglearning at 7:55 PM on April 25, 2012

Correction: It's not TOO late and not to late...
posted by livinglearning at 7:55 PM on April 25, 2012

No, it's not too late to claim the medical benefits. As for who should claim them, it really depends on what kind of income you're looking at. In most cases medical expenses are allowed depending on the amount of income you have. For example, if you earned $80,000 a $1000 or $2500 medical expense might not be enough to get you the tax credit. Your best way to find out, short of hiring someone is just to input the amount into both yours and your sisters and see who benefits the most from it (assuming you're doing this on a computer and not the hard way on paper!).
posted by Beacon Inbound at 10:32 PM on April 25, 2012

You can claim medical expenses for any one year period ending during the tax year, so for example you could claim and expenses that occurred 1 jan 2010 to 1 jan 2011. You just can't claim for a period longer than 12 months.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:02 AM on April 26, 2012

I'd echo the comment to call the CRA and ask. I've had great advice from them in the past and they're very patient. Call sooner than later though, they're going to be very busy in the next week.
posted by bonehead at 5:21 AM on April 26, 2012

It sounds hopeful for you being able to claim the expenses on your 2011 return, which is great if true.

If you can't, you should be able to file an adjustment for 2010. All the supporting documentation you'd need to make the claim on your return normally plus an explanation (e.g. "I realized I had these expenses from a previous year and hadn't claimed them at the time") are all you need.

Whichever way you go, fill in the form correctly and completely. This is Canada and our Civil Service, while it's generally stocked with pleasant people, can punt back anything that isn't bog standard procedure and well understood by the person reviewing your file.
posted by thatdawnperson at 5:42 AM on April 26, 2012

1. As mentioned previously, it's true that you can claim medical expenses for any 12 month period ending in the tax year. Keep in mind that the medical expenses are reduced by 3% of your net income to a maximum (reduction) of $2052 so unless you make less than $30k or have some other medical bills your orthodontic bill won't help you.

2. You can claim medical expenses for other dependents that relied on you for care and support at some time during the year. Since your father was on vacation the CRA might argue that he wasn't actually dependent on you at the time. The advice to call the CRA is good but call more than once because you won't always get the same answer. The amount you can claim is reduced by 3% of your father's net income to a maximum (reduction) of $2052 and is claimed on line 331.

2b. Since medical expenses for other dependents are reduced by that dependent's net income it doesn't matter whether you or your sister claim the deduction as long as you both have sufficient tax payable to absorb the deduction.
posted by sockpup at 7:35 AM on April 26, 2012

Edit: $1000 is 3% of $33.3K.
posted by sockpup at 7:39 AM on April 26, 2012

This is what the CRA page for line 331 says:
Claim, on line 331, the part of eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for the following persons who depended on you for support:

  • your or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew who was a resident of Canada at any time in the year.
I assume that, since your father doesn't seem to have had medical insurance coverage of his own in Canada (with it, he wouldn't have been charged $2500), he is not a Canadian citizen or resident (check out the CRA page for that definition), and you can therefore not claim the expense; you have to have been in Canada for 183 days to be considered a resident for tax purposes.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2012

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