There are three conditions, which are required to be present before a person can claim travel for medical appointments:
1) The services are not available near your home
2) You have taken the most direct route to get to your appointment
3) It is necessary in your situation to have to travel to receive the medical attention
There are also two different ways for you to claim your medical travel expenses on you taxes:
1) Detailed Method—you claim only what you have paid for out of pocket for fuel, meals (if over 80 kilometers one-way), and parking. You also must keep all your receipts and records for your 12-month claiming period.
2) Simplified Method—you can claim a flat rate of 17.00/meal to a maximum of 51.00/day and a fixed rate per kilometer for travel. For Nova Scotia, the rate is 52.5 cents for every kilometer travelled there and back. These rates can and normally do change from year to year.
As kilometer rates vary by province, check out the link below for your applicable rate!
In order to claim any medical travel, whether using the Detailed or Simplified method, you must travel at least 40 kilometers from your home one-way. If the distance you have to travel is more than 40 kilometers, but less than 80, you can only claim for the kilometers traveled. However, if the distance you travel is 80 or more kilometers one-way, than you are eligible to claim for your kilometers, along with a meal.
Also, if your doctor certifies in writing that you are not able to make the trip on your own, then you are able to claim the transportation and travel expenses for an attendant. These expenses would include items such as their meals and accommodations. If you are claiming for accommodations, you must keep the receipts and be able to show the amount paid is necessary based on the distance you travel and your condition.
Natasha lives in Truro and has to travel 40 kilometers one-way (but less than 80) to Kemptown for medical treatment that is not available in Truro. Since she had to use her own vehicle because there was no public transportation, she can claim her vehicle expenses either using the simplified or detailed method but no meals.
Natasha had to travel more than 80 kilometers one-way from Truro to Halifax to get medical treatment. She can now claim for her vehicle expenses, along with a meal claim. Now let us assume Natasha is required to have an attendant along with her, and her doctor has verified this. If the attendant had to stay in Halifax for a period while Natasha was in the hospital to provide her with personal care and helped with her meals, Natasha can also claim these expenses (accommodations and meals).
Now let us assuming Natasha has to travel from Truro to Toronto to get medical services not provided in Truro. She flew there and back, and stayed in a hotel for two weeks while receiving her medical services. Natasha can claim all reasonable travel expenses for the trip for the two-week period.
We must remember that in order to claim any medical travel expenses, the service cannot be available in your town. For example, you cannot make a medical travel claim just because work may be less expensive in another location or if you prefer one medical provider’s services to another.
Overall, save everything for your tax preparer and you can make an informed decision at year-end as to whether the simplified or detailed method is the best for you!
~ Douglas Ross ~