What Medical Expenses Can I Claim To Lower My Income Tax?

by Pam on September 21, 2013

what medical expenses can I claim Canadians are not always aware of what they can claim on their income tax return with regards to their medical expenses.  I have outlined below some of the items that you need to be aware of in order to ensure you are claiming your medical expenses properly.

Medical Mileage

You can only claim mileage for distances greater than 40kms one way.  Note, if your hometown offers the same medical service, then you cannot claim mileage if you choose to go to a different location.  For instance, if your hometown has a dentist, then if you go to a dentist in a different town you cannot claim mileage for that trip.  You don’t need to keep your fuel receipts as accountants use a simplified method to figure out how much you can claim for mileage.

Medical Meals

You can claim meals when you travel a distance of 80kms or more one way for a medical service.  Once again, however, you cannot claim meals if you have the option of obtaining the same medical service in your hometown.  Ideally, it’s a good idea to keep a medical travel log indicating when and where you went, what the trip was for, etc.  That way it’s easier to claim your medical travel and meals come tax time.  You don’t need to keep your meal receipts as accountants use a simplified method to figure out how much you can claim for meals.


As long as you keep your receipts, you can claim any parking fees associated with your medical visits.


As long as you keep your receipts, you are able to claim accommodations for medical visits that are at least 80kms from your hometown.  It’s a good idea to keep evidence of your medical visits when claiming medical travel, so keep appointment cards, surgery pre op instructions, etc.  just in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) ever wants to review your medical expense claims.

Prescription Drugs

Any medications prescribed by a doctor are claimable.  Keep your official prescription receipts or have your pharmacy provide you with a printout of all prescriptions for the year.

Keep Your Receipts

Things like physiotherapy, dental work, chiropractor visits, and optometry are all claimable.  Be sure to keep all of your receipts for each visit.  If you have coverage under a benefit plan, be sure to make a note of how much was paid by you and how much was paid by your insurer.  You can only claim the amount that you paid.

What You Can’t Claim

Things you can’t claim include drug store purchases that are not prescribed by a doctor.  For instance, even if you buy over the counter medicine it is not claimable.  Vitamins, supplements, and practically anything else you can find on a drug store shelf is not claimable.  Massage therapy is also not currently claimable.  Counseling may be claimable but only if your counselor meets certain criteria.

Medical expenses do not help everyone to lower their tax, but you won’t know ahead of time if it’s worth your while to claim them or not, so it’s better to collect and keep a good record of your medical expenses throughout the year just in case.  The tax savings can turn out to be significant.

For more detailed information on claiming your medical expenses, visit the CRA website.

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