For 2014, if you have a dependent that you claim under one of the following:
Spousal amount (line 303)
Equivalent to spouse amount (line 305)
The child amount (line 367)
The caregiver amount (line 315)
The infirm dependant (line 306)
And that person is defined as infirmed with an impairment in physical or mental functions then the family caregiver tax credit provides an additional $2,058 credit on your tax return.
So what qualifies for impairment?
Infirm takes its meaning from the dictionary as there is no definition of infirm in the Income Tax Act and is defined as not physically or mentally strong. It’s up to your qualified medical practitioner to determine if you or your dependant is ‘infirm’ and to document that infirmity, by describing the nature, commencement and duration of said ‘infirmity’. For a dependant under 18, the letter should indicate that the child by reason of a mental or physical infirmity is and is likely to be for a long-continued period of indefinite duration, dependent on others for significantly more assistance in attending to personal needs and care when compared to children of the same age.
The challenge will be persuading your dependents to ask their physician to document their infirmity. If you thought that labeling someone as disabled was difficult, try explaining to your aging parent, a dependent sibling, or your teenage child that you would like them to ask their doctor to write such a letter declaring them to be infirm, all so you can pay $300 less tax.
If you have the disability tax credit, that’s not the same as infirm. Disability is actually worded and defined in the Income Tax Act as ’impairment in ability’. You could have impairment in ability but that may not mean you meet the criteria of infirm. For example, you might be blind or hearing impaired, or you may be confined to a wheelchair, but that doesn’t necessarily make you infirm, given that the definition of infirm is weak or feeble. In the case of the wheelchair, you could be an incredible athlete, winning trophies at the Olympics. Are you considered infirm? I guess only your doctor knows for sure.
For more detailed information please call KWB at 780-466-6204 or email us by clicking here.
Thanks to Jean Dubois of KWB Chartered Accountants for providing this content.