Medical Expense Tax Credit - Personal dislike of local medical service is not sufficient to claim medical travel.


In a December 13, 2017 Tax Court of Canada case (Tallon vs. H.M.Q., 2015-5603(IT)I), at issue was whether the taxpayer could claim travel, accommodation and meals costs associated with travel to Cambodia and Thailand as a medical expense. The medical services provided related to a heart problemthyroid problem, and facial lesion.

In order to claim medical travel (Paragraphs 118.2(2)(g) and (h)), three conditions must be met: substantially equivalent medical services are not available in the taxpayer’s locality; the route taken must be reasonably direct; and the patient travels to that place to obtain medical services for him/herself and travelling to that place to obtain such services is reasonable.

At issue was whether there were substantially similar medical services locally and whether the purpose of the trip was for medical reasons.

Taxpayer loses
The Court found that while the taxpayer did obtain medical services in Thailand that was not the reason for her trip.

In addition, the Court found that there were substantially similar medical services in the taxpayer’s location to those obtained in Thailand. The taxpayer’s belief that the treatment available locally was inferior to that available in Thailand was not sufficient. The Court noted that it is not the purpose of Paragraphs 118.2(2)(g) and (h) to provide fiscal support to those who disagree with the recommendations of their local doctors and decide to seek alternative options in remote jurisdictions for an extended period of time. Personal likes or dislikes of the taxpayer regarding local medical services does not mean equivalent medical services are not available locally.

For further information see Video Tax News Monthly Tax Update Newsletter, Issue No. 438