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Attendant care and care in a facility
Attendant care is care given by an attendant who does personal tasks which a person cannot do for themselves. This includes care in certain types of facilities.
You can claim amounts paid to an attendant only if the attendant met both of the following criteria:
- They were not your spouse or common-law partner.
- They were 18 years of age or older when the amounts were paid.
An attendant who is hired privately will probably be considered an employee. For more information, see Guide RC4110, Employee or Self-employed?
Who can claim these expenses
You can claim as medical expenses the amounts you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for attendant care or care in a facility. The expenses must have been paid for the care of any of the following persons:
- your spouse or common-law partner
- your dependant
A dependant is someone who depended on you for support and is any of the following persons:
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child or grandchild
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece who lived in Canada at any time in the year
Amounts you can claim as medical expenses
Full-time care or specialized care
Generally, you can claim the entire amount you paid for care at any of the following facilities:
- nursing homes (full-time care)
- schools, institutions, or other places (providing care or care and training)
We consider care to be full-time care when a person needs constant care and attendance.
Other places could include an out-patient clinic, such as a detoxification clinic; however, they do not include a recreational facility, such as a residential summer camp, even if it caters to persons with disabilities.
Generally, you cannot claim the entire amount you paid for a retirement home or a home for seniors. However, you can claim salaries and wages for care in such facilities if the care recipient qualifies for the disability tax credit (see Salaries and wages).
What we mean by nursing home – A nursing home is generally a facility that gives full-time care, including 24-hour nursing care, to individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Any facility could be considered a nursing home if it has the same features and characteristics as a nursing home.
All regular fees paid for full-time care in a nursing home or for specialized care or training in an institution are eligible as medical expenses, including fees for all of the following:
- nursing care
- administration fees
- maintenance fees
- social programming and activities fees
However, extra personal expenses (such as hairdresser fees) are not eligible.
Salaries and wages
You may be able to claim the fees for salaries and wages paid for attendant care or care or supervision in any of the following facilities:
- self-contained domestic establishments (such as your private home)
- retirement homes, homes for seniors, or other institutions that typically provide part-time attendant care
- group homes in Canada
- nursing homes – special rules apply to this type of facility, see the chart
Eligibility for the disability tax credit may be a requirement to claim fees for salaries and wages as medical expenses. See the reference to Form T2201 on the chart.
Expenses you can claim
You may be able to claim as medical expenses the salaries and wages paid to all employees who do the following tasks or services:
- food preparation
- housekeeping services for a resident’s personal living space
- laundry services for a resident’s personal items
- health care (registered nurse, practical nurse, certified health care aide, personal support worker)
- activities (social programmer)
- salon services (hairdresser, manicurist, pedicurist) if included in the monthly fee
- transportation (driver)
- security for a secured unit
If you are receiving attendant care in your home, you can only claim for the period when you are at home and need care or help. For an expense to be eligible as a medical expense, you must either:
- be eligible for the disability tax credit
- have a written certification from a medical practitioner that states the services are necessary
Expenses you cannot claim
You cannot claim the cost of any of the following:
- rent (except the part of rent for services that help a person with daily tasks, such as laundry and housekeeping)
- cleaning supplies
- other operating costs (such as maintenance of common areas and outside grounds)
- salaries and wages paid to employees such as administrators, receptionists, groundskeepers, janitors (for common areas), and maintenance staff
Special rules when claiming the disability amount
There are special rules when claiming the disability amount and attendant care as medical expenses. For information on claiming attendant care and the disability amount, see the chart.
Calculate your net federal tax by completing Step 5 of your tax return to find out what is more beneficial for you. You can also see the examples.
If you claim the fees paid to a nursing home for full-time care as a medical expense on line 33099 or 33199 of your tax return (Step 5 – Federal tax), no one (including yourself) can claim the disability amount for the same person.
You can claim the disability amount together with the portion of the nursing home fees that relate only to salaries and wages for attendant care (up to the limit indicated in the chart). However, you must provide a breakdown of the amounts charged by the nursing home showing the portion of payments that relate to attendant care.
For more information on the disability tax credit and how to claim the disability amount, go to Disability tax credit.
Documents you need to support your attendant care expenses
Receipts must show the name of the company or individual to whom the expense was paid. If an individual issues a receipt for attendant care services, the receipt must include his or her social insurance number.
You may need to provide a certification to claim amounts paid for attendant care as medical expenses. To determine which type of document you need, see the chart.
To claim attendant care expenses paid to a facility such as a retirement home, you have to send us a detailed breakdown from the facility.
The breakdown must clearly show the amounts paid for staff salaries that apply to the attendant care services listed under Salaries and wages – Expenses you can claim.
The breakdown should also take into account any subsidies that reduce the attendant care expenses (unless the subsidy is included in income and is not deductible from income).