All About Estates

Disability Tax Credit Claim: Denied on Appeal

As many of you know the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) 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.

I have written in the past that for many in and/or associated with the provision of tax advice and preparation, the application and qualification for  the DTC is often found to be less than straightforward, complicated to many despite CRA’s admonitions to the contrary. 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!

In my practice, aside from the common issues of poorly completed forms and/or inadequate supporting documentation from a medical practitioner, I don’t always receive the specific details as to why a particular disability tax credit has been denied other than the generic ” we are of the opinion that the claim did not fit the criteria” or something along those lines.

So it was with interest that I was referred to Laing v. The Queen 2019 TCC 267,  as the Judge in his reasons for judgment provided a detailed analysis of precedent law and interpretations, and administrative practice as it applied to this matter (as one would expect) which I found informative. The Judge acknowledged that the Income Tax Act does not provide specific direction on various terms of the DTC.

Ms Laing was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. She made a claim for the DTC for a 3 year period and the claim was denied. She appealed to the Tax Court of Canada. She represented herself and quite capably it appears. By the way, she fired a specialist firm who was handling the claim for her before the appeal.

The issue before the Court was whether Ms. Laing’s well documented physical and mental health challenges had the cumulative effect of causing a significant restriction with one or more basic activity of daily living.

Regrettably, the appeal was denied. Ms Laing was unable to persuade the Court that the cumulative effect of her restrictions was causing an inordinate or excessive amount of time to complete her basic activities. The law and administrative practice associated with the application of  “marked restrictions”, which is one of the underpinnings of the DTC, is dealt with in great detail.

If you are at all interested, I would encourage you to read the case. The judgment sets out some of the key criteria to a successful claim, beyond getting the forms done correctly!

Happy Reading and stay safe in these times.


About Steven Frye
Baker Tilly WM LLP is a leading, independent audit, tax, and business advisory firm based in Vancouver and Toronto, serving clients across Canada. Drawing on well-trained teams across a variety of disciplines, we ensure the alignment of our professional’s skills and experience with client requirements, resulting in exceptional service and business outcomes.


  1. Kenneth Pope

    April 8, 2020 - 5:41 pm

    Thanks Steven, nice piece.
    Kind regards, Ken Pope

    Kenneth C. Pope LLB TEP
    Barrister & Solicitor

    Planning for Special Needs: Disability Estate Planning, ODSP Benefits & Tax Credits

    Suite 600 – 251 Bank Street
    Ottawa, ON
    K2P 1X3

    Toll Free: 1-866-536-7673
    Phone: 1-613-567-9724 xt 111
    Fax: 1-613-594-4837

  2. Nicole

    April 9, 2020 - 5:50 pm

    How do I access this particular case? I am interested in reading it.

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