As most of you know, the Disability Tax Credit is a credit to income tax otherwise payable, available for those with a severe or prolonged impairment. It is meant to provide some relief from the additional costs and expenses incurred associated with the impairment.
It is also referred to by many as a gatekeeper credit because it is a cornerstone to such programs such as registered disability plans, the working income tax benefit supplement and the child disability benefit.
To qualify you have to submit an application and the application must be approved by the CRA before the credits are claimed. It is a lengthy form and can be viewed as intimidating. In answer to this, the CRA has argued for some time that all you have to do is read it carefully. CRA has provided a help line to those who need assistance.
I think tax professionals and many of my fellow bloggers would agree the application for the disability tax credit is often found to be less than straightforward, complicated to many despite CRA’s admonitions to the contrary, and requires some considerable effort to get it completed properly, including finding that elusive doctor’s signature required on the form. Many applicants have gone so far as to engage specialists, some who charge a fee in the form of a % of the refunds/claims made!
Well, some welcome news: The government recently announced the reinstatement of the Disability Advisory Committee. The Committee is to work with those who have a stake to ensure that measures for persons with disabilities under the the Income Tax Act are fairly administered. I understand their review will include how to improve the application for the tax credit, to make it easier to complete (and get completed).
The Committee members will include people with disabilities, health practitioners, advocates and professionals. This will be a real opportunity for those who have been through the application process and other matters related it, and those who have counseled them, to have a say in the quest for simplification.
It would very much please me, and many other professionals I am sure, to get to a point where all we have to do in the future is to be conscious of client circumstances where an application for a credit is appropriate and not worry about the applicant having, except in very complicated medical circumstances, to engage a specialist to get a form completed and submitted.