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Gluten Free Tax Refund Help?
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So im doing my taxes and im at the Medical Expenses section. I didnt work at all in 2011 and I entered in the total amount of all receipts from 2011. It says "Your non-refundable credits exceed your tax payable. You should carry all or a portion of your medical expenses forward to next year. To carry-forward medical expenses, remove the amounts, and save your receipts for use in a future year." Could someone explain what this means? Maybe I cant do it since I didnt work in 2011?

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I'm no tax expert, but here's the gist of most canadian tax-deductions as I understand them.

-you only pay income tax if you make over x dollars a year. This is true for both provincial and federal taxes. X will be different for both, and varies from province to province. You also only start paying money for each dollar ABOVE X.

-tax deductions DO NOT mean you get your total deductable amount back. Rather, they count like a negative income.

Eg1: A student has a tuition deductable of 6k. Their income from working part-time and the summer is 13k. X in this case is 10k. What the tax forms will do, in a convoluted confusing way, is do 13k-6k = 8k. 8k is now the student's income. Since they only have to pay taxes on any income over 10k, they don't have to pay taxes. Unfortunately, the student doesn't get 2k worth of tax money back from the government. You either pay money or don't, then never pay you :-p They do not, however, have to 'lose out' on that 2k of credits...

eg2: Same as example 1, except now X is 14k. Since the student's job income is only 13k, it's already under 14k, so they already don't have to pay taxes. Outwardly, it appears like the credits are wasted. However, the government is kind enough to allow most 'credits', including the healthcare ones apparently, to be used in the years following the actual credit. In this case, the student, who's graduating this year and has a job all lined up where they make 50k a year next year, will be able to use that 6k tuition credit NEXT year, and their overall taxable income will only be 44k, not 50k.

(Note that they don't get 7k worth of credits because not working doesn't count as a deductable...)

-So, to sum all this up to the only answer you really care about, you cannot claim your gluten-free healthcare for this year. What they're telling you, however, is that you are allowed to use it for NEXT years taxes.

-I *believe* most tax deductables/credits like tuition and healthcare costs can be carried for a maximum of 10 years before they expire. So if you only manage to make your own money 8 years from now, you are still likely able to claim those same receipts sitting in front of you.

-They're also telling you to keep your gluten-free receipts etc on your person and submit it only when you actually want to use the info. If you accidentally send/sent them already, they will likely keep a record of it regardless, but they would prefer not to.

*important*!!!!

I don't know about gluten-free receipts or regular healthcare costs, but I do know that for claiming tuition costs, you can actually transfer your tuition credits to a parent or caretaker or spouse to use. However, you can only do it that same year. You cannot transfer this credit next year. You can only carry it from year to year if you plan on using it for yourself. Assuming you're not homeless, you could potentially get some form, sign it, and hand over the gluten-free credits to whoever's looking after you.

Transferring money to another person might actually be more beneficial overall, even if you would use those credits for yourself next year or the year after that, etc. How? Well, you know how I said you only pay taxes over X$ in income? Well, that's just for the lowest range of income. At ~50k income, you are in a new tax 'bracket'. There were 3 brackets back when I did my own taxes a few years ago. With each bracket, you have to pay a larger % of your money in taxes. For example, any money you make over 80k or something is taxed at like 40%, money you make from like 12k-50k might only be 18% taxed.

So, back to transferring credits, if your spouse makes a good income, and the tax credits you have from being gluten-free would put him down into a lower tax bracket, he'll actually get more money back than if you, say, only worked for minimum wage the following year. (Obviously the reverse is also true; if your spouse makes minimum wage, but next year you will be making 100k, if you used those credits next year instead of giving them to your spouse this year, overall, you will save more money.)

Again though, I'm not sure you if can transfer gluten-free tax credits like tuition credits or not. You should look it up. Also not sure how many years you can actually 'carry over' the tax credits.

-Note that you may only use credits once. If they are carried over to following years, it is because you didn't use them that year.

-I believe you can also split up the credits between you and the person you would be transferring them to, or only use part of the credits.

-I don't believe you can choose to use your credits in 3 years if you could use them in 2. If you sent this years gluten-free credits in with year 3's taxes and did all the math, they may redo your math as if you had used them for year 2 if they could be used, and alter the taxes accordingly.

If you own your own business, everything gets a lot more complicated.

I find the hotlines are pretty good at answering specific questions. Less good at explaining overall concepts of how income tax works.

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Silencio, as you know, my husband is a CA and he has been unbelievably busy lately. So, I'll try to help a bit. Have you checked out this info?

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/clc-eng.html

You do not need to submit receipts unless they are required - hang on to them. How do you figure out the incremental cost of the food item? All you do is guess an estimate - you can use anything you think is "reasonable". My husband said that they cannot deny anything "reasonable" which can be 10% or 15% or whatever you think. I do a simple spreadsheet on Excel including the date of the receipt, store where product was purchased, what was purchased (or if the entire receipt includes gluten-free products I say "various") and the amount of tax (5%) if charged for that item. The items are usually marked with some letter or other indicator on the receipt. Then I do up the totals. This is the info my husband uses. It is sort of a pain but it did help by a few hundred dollars. And it really is simple to do. BUT I do have a lot of other medical expenses to claim for chiro, massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture and so on for an unrelated injury.

The CRA website says, "You can claim eligible medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in 2011 and not claimed for 2010. Your total expenses have to be more than 3% of your net income (line 236) or $2,052 whichever is less."

You will also need to submit a letter from a medical professional stating you do have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

My husband could explain it so easily and so well. I just wish I could see him more than a few minutes this time of year!

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