The Canada Revenue Agency lists medical services provided outside of Canada on its list of eligible medical expenses. This means you can include foreign health care expenses when claiming your medical expense tax credit. In some cases, you can write off your travel expenses. However, it’s important to note that not every expense is eligible.
Medical Services Provided Outside of Canada
According to the CRA, expenses that fall into this category include amounts you pay to medical practitioners and public or licensed private hospitals. Medical practitioners include anyone who is authorized to practice medicine according to the laws in the area where the services are provided.
Eligible Medical Expenses
To be considered an eligible medical expense for the purpose of the medical expense tax credit, you must have incurred the expenses for a medically necessary procedure. Additionally, if you are writing off the expenses from a hospital, you must have incurred those expenses for medical services.
For example, imagine you were required to travel to another country so you could have heart surgery. The cost of the surgery is considered to be an eligible medical expense. However, if the hospital charges you extra fees for a luxurious room, special food or other amenities, those fees are not usually considered eligible.
To claim travel expenses as part of your medical expense tax credit, you have to meet certain criteria. Most importantly, the health care services you receive must not be available in your area, and you must be required to travel to access them.
If you have to travel at least 40 kilometres one way, you can write off the cost of your public transit tickets. If public transit does not exist between your origination and destination points, you can write off the vehicle expenses on your return, but you must take a direct route.
If you have to travel at least 80 kilometres one way, you may also include the cost of food and accommodations in your medical expense tax credit. Track those expenses in the currency of the country where you are receiving the services, but remember to convert them to Canadian currency before you report them on your income tax return.
If your spouse, your common-law partner or another individual travels with you, you may be able to include that person’s expenses as part of your medical expense tax credit. To include these expenses, you need to have a note from your physician or other authorized medical practitioner that certifies that you were unable to travel alone.
If you qualify, you can write off the cost of your travel companion’s transit tickets, accommodation and meals, depending on how far you have travelled for your medical care.