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medical expenses - borderline useless - 2014 tax return

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[OP]
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Aug 31, 2009
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medical expenses - borderline useless - 2014 tax return

Just added up all of my family's pharmacy, dental and eyewear costs for 2014 and inputted them into the tax program. Wrked out to a total of approx $1300. My income was too high for this to meet the 3% threshold so I had to claim it on my wife's return. Saved us a grand total of $43 in taxes owed. Yee haw!! Almost not worth the effort to track expenses and save the receipts and add them all together (almost, but still worth it of course as $40 is $40).

Would be nice to get at least $100 bucks back in saved taxes on $1300 spent though. Oh well.

Anyone else find that claiming medical expenses is hardly worth it unless you have multi-thousands of them to claim each yr?
74 replies
Member
Aug 20, 2014
223 posts
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Toronto, ON
Your family was healthy in 2014 and didn't spend too much on medical expenses. Isn't this something to celebrate and much better than having to claim multi-thousands each year? :)
Member
Mar 16, 2008
234 posts
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Edmonton
I am sure there are things you can do to maximize your return.... Didn't your accountant recommend an injury or illness. Something to work on for next year.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
6092 posts
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SW Ontario
Agreed. Due to benefits through work covering partial expenses it's a huge hassle to tally up the portions that I paid on everything. Even with a few extra expensive things it was about what you claimed so I didn't even bother figuring it all out. Would have taken hours to sort through. Just skipped it.
Newbie
Nov 26, 2003
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jslwc wrote: Just added up all of my family's pharmacy, dental and eyewear costs for 2014 and inputted them into the tax program. Wrked out to a total of approx $1300. My income was too high for this to meet the 3% threshold so I had to claim it on my wife's return. Saved us a grand total of $43 in taxes owed. Yee haw!! Almost not worth the effort to track expenses and save the receipts and add them all together (almost, but still worth it of course as $40 is $40).

Would be nice to get at least $100 bucks back in saved taxes on $1300 spent though. Oh well.

Anyone else find that claiming medical expenses is hardly worth it unless you have multi-thousands of them to claim each yr?
Yes, it's a lot of work if your family has lots of small expenses without many large ones. On the flipside, if you've had a major health event, those bills really add up fast (increasing expenses, decreasing income -- especially if the person was self-employed without nice benefits to cushion the low). I'm glad that the tax deduction is there for those that need it. Thankfully you didn't have larger bills!

Perhaps for next year, keep a running tally or a folder for all the small expenses so you don't have to go looking for them.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13306 posts
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Why is it a lot of work?

Yesterday I walked into our pharmacy (Pharma Plus) ...I asked for a summary of prescriptions...in one minute I had the insividualiEd items and procenpaid.

For glasses, that is what one or two receipts..even then you can ask for a fuly summary...
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Oct 24, 2011
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Timmins
Don't forget- if you paid the premiums for those health benefit plans through your pay cheque, the part you paid is eligible to be counted as a medical expense. This can bring your total up enough to increase your non-refundable credit. If the amount is not printed on your T4 slip under box 85, you can use your end-of-year pay stub.
Banned
Feb 12, 2015
138 posts
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GTA, ON
But am sure the health of your family is more important, that you looking to get something back for what you spent...am I right? After all the Govt is not responsible for us choosing to have a family
jslwc wrote: Just added up all of my family's pharmacy, dental and eyewear costs for 2014 and inputted them into the tax program. Wrked out to a total of approx $1300. My income was too high for this to meet the 3% threshold so I had to claim it on my wife's return. Saved us a grand total of $43 in taxes owed. Yee haw!! Almost not worth the effort to track expenses and save the receipts and add them all together (almost, but still worth it of course as $40 is $40).

Would be nice to get at least $100 bucks back in saved taxes on $1300 spent though. Oh well.

Anyone else find that claiming medical expenses is hardly worth it unless you have multi-thousands of them to claim each yr?
Deal Addict
Feb 20, 2009
1419 posts
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redgrandam wrote: Agreed. Due to benefits through work covering partial expenses it's a huge hassle to tally up the portions that I paid on everything. Even with a few extra expensive things it was about what you claimed so I didn't even bother figuring it all out. Would have taken hours to sort through. Just skipped it.
I don't know about you but I can easily view my claims and see what was paid and wasn't in a summary view for the year. Makes it very easy to calculate.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 12, 2010
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u0dcameron wrote: I don't know about you but I can easily view my claims and see what was paid and wasn't in a summary view for the year. Makes it very easy to calculate.
Yes. I should have said that my wife has coverage too, which pays a portion of the remained of things. So everything would have to be cross referenced and added up a few dollars at a time. I was barely going to meet the minimum last year (or less than the min).
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Aug 2, 2010
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Here 'n There
jslwc wrote: Just added up all of my family's pharmacy, dental and eyewear costs for 2014 and inputted them into the tax program. Wrked out to a total of approx $1300. My income was too high for this to meet the 3% threshold so I had to claim it on my wife's return. Saved us a grand total of $43 in taxes owed. Yee haw!! Almost not worth the effort to track expenses and save the receipts and add them all together (almost, but still worth it of course as $40 is $40).

Would be nice to get at least $100 bucks back in saved taxes on $1300 spent though. Oh well.

Anyone else find that claiming medical expenses is hardly worth it unless you have multi-thousands of them to claim each yr?
Well of course, duh. The tax policy and objective is not to provide credits for medical expenses to those that can afford to pay and that makes total sense. Hence, it has to be greater than 3% of your income.

Saving $43 is worth it and a buck saved is a buck saved. It takes 5 min to tabulate your medical bills. That works out to about $500/hr for your time. Not worth it? LOL
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5409 posts
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Toronto
I never even claim medical expense.

So do you just keep track of all the $4-5 prescription co-pay everytime you have a flu?
How about over-the-counter flu med, cough syrup?
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Oct 24, 2011
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Timmins
boyohboy wrote: I never even claim medical expense.

So do you just keep track of all the $4-5 prescription co-pay everytime you have a flu?
How about over-the-counter flu med, cough syrup?
Over the counter medication is not eligible for the medical expense credit, even if prescribed by a doctor. Nor are supplements, natural products, etc.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 24, 2013
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Kingston, ON
You get 15%+provincial back on every dollar that's over the 3%/$2k minimum. If you're barely over, you don't get much back, but if you're over it's definitely worth the while to find more.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
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jslwc wrote: Just added up all of my family's pharmacy, dental and eyewear costs for 2014 and inputted them into the tax program. Wrked out to a total of approx $1300. My income was too high for this to meet the 3% threshold so I had to claim it on my wife's return. Saved us a grand total of $43 in taxes owed. Yee haw!! Almost not worth the effort to track expenses and save the receipts and add them all together (almost, but still worth it of course as $40 is $40).

Would be nice to get at least $100 bucks back in saved taxes on $1300 spent though. Oh well.

Anyone else find that claiming medical expenses is hardly worth it unless you have multi-thousands of them to claim each yr?
You are right. I don't bother any more since it requires tracking deductiles and co payments. The day my income drops enough or my expenses go up enough to hit 3%, I'll do it.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
28886 posts
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Montreal
nalababe wrote: Why is it a lot of work?

Yesterday I walked into our pharmacy (Pharma Plus) ...I asked for a summary of prescriptions...in one minute I had the insividualiEd items and procenpaid.

For glasses, that is what one or two receipts..even then you can ask for a fuly summary...
It's not just drugs. Eyeglasses, vaccination fees for the kid, a brace or bandage here, a lab test test there, etc...
Sr. Member
Oct 14, 2012
790 posts
527 upvotes
Woodstock
If either you or your wife can have a "health spending account" at work, you might want to open one. They all have different rules.

For one of ours, you pay some of your "before tax" money into the account each payday. You submit your receipts (including you can submit the claim that says they only reimbursed you the 90% of some drug cost) and they pay you back the amount (for example the 10% of the drug not already reimbursed.) So you are getting before tax $$ back. The trick is that if you overestimate how much you want to claim in the coming year, and you end up with fewer bills than that amount, you have to forfeit the extra to the insurance agent/government. So we always underestimate our medical expense so we don't lose money. But we know the children will need new glasses etc so we have a good idea of how much it may be.

It's another way to save tax $$ if your company offers it.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5409 posts
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Toronto
mr_raider wrote: It's not just drugs. Eyeglasses, vaccination fees for the kid, a brace or bandage here, a lab test test there, etc...
How about physio?
[OP]
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Aug 31, 2009
314 posts
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BC
sqara82 wrote: Your family was healthy in 2014 and didn't spend too much on medical expenses. Isn't this something to celebrate and much better than having to claim multi-thousands each year? :)
Yes, in looking at the big picture, this is certainly true.
CheapMike wrote: I am sure there are things you can do to maximize your return.... Didn't your accountant recommend an injury or illness. Something to work on for next year.
Already busted for faking an injury in 2013 and an illness in 2012 - have since fired my accountant. Thanks for your input though.
eonibm wrote: Well of course, duh. The tax policy and objective is not to provide credits for medical expenses to those that can afford to pay and that makes total sense. Hence, it has to be greater than 3% of your income.
Saving $43 is worth it and a buck saved is a buck saved. It takes 5 min to tabulate your medical bills. That works out to about $500/hr for your time. Not worth it? LOL
Takes a little longer than 5 mins for an entire yr of receipt saving, sorting, compiling, entering into software, etc. Obviously I'll keep tracking it to get my few dollars back each year, but it's certainly not LOL $500/hr.


I was basically just commenting on the fact that (with no medical or dental coverage at all through work) claiming over $1300 of my post-tax income on medical saves about $43 in tax. I guess 3.3% of my money back is better than nothing.
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Feb 19, 2010
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People should also keep in mind that you don't need to claim medical expenses on a calendar year basis. You can claim medical expenses for "any 12 month period ending in the year", "year" referring to the tax year in question.

What that means is that if you had considerable medical expenses for something, for example, in the latter part of 2013 and the early part of 2014, you could make the claim for the twelve month period ending in 2014 to include all of those costs. Might be a planning consideration going forward, if nothing else.

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