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In the most recent federal budget, there was a small item that related to Health Trusts and Private Health Services Plans (PHSPs): No more cosmetic items or procedures can be claimed under these plans.

This includes: injectables like Botox and Restylane, cosmetic dermatology and dentistry, or plastic surgery such as rhinoplasty or breast augmentations.

Exceptions to this rule include items that are medically necessary. I would include a note from the prescribing phsyician explaining any questionable items with such a claim.

If in doubt about your claim, please feel free to call our office at 604.872.2866.

Here is the wording from the budget (taken from page 341 of the Canada's Economic Action Plan “Budget 2010”):

Medical Expense Tax Credit — Purely Cosmetic Procedures

The Medical Expense Tax Credit provides tax recognition for above-average medical and disability-related expenses incurred by individuals. For 2010, the Medical Expense Tax Credit reduces the federal tax of a claimant by 15 per cent of eligible unreimbursed medical expenses in excess of the lesser of $2,024 and three per cent of net income.

An expense is generally eligible to be claimed under the Medical Expense Tax Credit if it is directly related to a disability or a medical condition. An expense is not generally intended to be eligible if it is ordinarily incurred by persons without a disability or a medical condition or has a substantial element of personal consumption and choice.

To ensure consistency with the intent of the Medical Expense Tax Credit, Budget 2010 proposes that expenses incurred for purely cosmetic procedures (including related services and other expenses such as travel) be ineligible to be claimed under the Medical Expense Tax Credit. This generally includes surgical and non-surgical procedures purely aimed at enhancing one's appearance such as liposuction, hair replacement procedures, botulinum toxin injections, and teeth whitening.

A cosmetic procedure, including those identified above, will continue to qualify for the Medical Expense Tax Credit if it is required for medical or reconstructive purposes, such as surgery to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease.

The proposed changes will make the tax treatment of purely cosmetic procedures consistent with that in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Qu├ębec.

This measure will apply to expenses incurred after March 4, 2010.

In celebration of small business week 2011, a great new article is up on the CBC's website about Private Health Services Plans, and excellent vehicle for business owners to deduct their medical and dental expenses:

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by CBC for the article, please let me know what you think!


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