If you are unfortunate to suffer celiac disease or know someone who does, you know the serious consequences all too well. Eating is something we do everyday, so not only is it difficult to permanently adjust your diet: it is expensive too! Even the average consumer knows that gluten-free (GF) items are more expensive than the alternative. Despite popular diets, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) knows that eating gluten-free may be a medical requirement– in these cases, you can claim these costs as a medical expense. Does your household qualify for this credit? Read Liu & Associates’ blog below to find out more!
The amount you pay for food is its cost, but when claiming gluten-free expenses you must calculate the incremental costs. This is the difference between the GF product and the standard alternative. For example, a whole wheat loaf of bread might cost $3 and a GF loaf of bread might costs $5.50– in this case the incremental cost is $2.50.
If any household member eats or uses the claimed gluten-free products, but does not have to– you must account for this when calculating your income tax return. You can only claim a portion of the incremental cost according to what portion of the household is medically required to live gluten-free.
If you have looked into claiming medical expenses before, you may be aware of the term income threshold. This is the percentage of your income that the expense must exceed before you can claim it as a tax credit. In the past, the CRA has set the gluten-free medical expense income threshold at 3% or a fixed amount that is set year to year (whichever is less).
While the CRA will often give you the benefit of the doubt, your claim may be selected for verification at random or if there is an error in the sums. To prepare for this, you should gather the appropriate documents: medical certification of your celiac disease, receipts for each product claimed and a summary of your incremental costs for each item.
The breakdown above is just a short briefing on the process of claiming gluten-free costs as medical expenses. If you or a member of your household is diagnosed with celiac disease, put your health first– but do not overlook the financial realities of the situation. Questions? Concerns? Visit or contact Liu & Associates today!