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Medical Travel in Small Communities

Has anyone ever had to deal with a situation where the clients were required to travel more than 40km’s to receive medical services such as dental because there was no dental in their community and they established a relationship with that out of town dentist. Now there is a dental office in the community and they technically are not required to travel to the other town for dental however, would like to continue doing so based on the already established relationship. Any ideas on the CRA rules behind this scenario?

We can always exercise free choice, but I don’t think there is any allowance for that in the tax act.

Gay Wise


1757 Shawnigan Mill Bay Road

Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada

V0R 2W0

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If there are now equivalent dental services where they live they can continue to travel out of town to their preferred dentist but I doubt very much that CRA, even if they were in the best of moods, would allow them to claim travel expenses!!

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I have one where the client couldn’t get a local community doctor, and is now looking at continuity of care concerns with several long-term health issues.

Even if she can eventually get a local doctor, none of them will have the knowledge of all the complexities in the same way the doctor currently serving her has.

Since we still have a doctor shortage, it’s not currently an issue. But I do wonder if a doctor’s letter confirming the need to stay with the current doctor because of these health complexities would sway them.

She’s still going to the same dentist even though we have a local dental clinic with several dentists. Since she was not seeing a dental specialist, I did not claim her mileage for those trips.

I have a client that moved but continues to drive to the doctor she had before moving. Because of the previous relationship and difficulty in finding a doctor in her new location, I have been claiming the medical travel. I feel I could justify the claim if

Osiah Horst RPB, CPB

Horst Business Services Inc.

Sage 50 and Sage One ProAdvisor

QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Phone (613) 281-1525 Fax (866) 365-2919

You’d think you can, but, no. We’ve had travel claims for physio, and were forced to get a letter from the nearest health authority stating that there were no physiotherapists locally. So, if a service is available locally, even if they’re named Rasputin, you can’t get the travel claim.

As @helga_spence mentioned, it might be defensible if the level or quality of local care is insufficient for the particular patient. Video Tax News reported a case a few years ago where a patient traveled to Mexico(?) or India(?) for a medical procedure, because the wait time in Canada would have been several months. CRA contested it, but the tax court sided with the taxpayer, and the travel costs were allowed.
So, if the client is willing to go to court over it…