Private School Tuition as Medical Expense

Hi everyone,

I have a new client who has a 13 yr old daughter who has a slight learning disability and as such attends a private school. The client’s previous tax prepare apparently claimed the 2021 tuition fees as a medical expense because of the learning disability.

Has anyone hear of this?

I have claimed extra tutoring costs (Sylvan Learning Center) as medical for a student that was also entitled to the disability tax credit. I’d think unless it was a very specialized school for learning disabilities and the student was failing miserably in public school it would not count towards this however.

1 Like

Thank Laurie. I dont believe there is an approved DTC on file for the young girl. The mom moved her to pvt school due to the daughter falling way behind in public school due to pandemic online learning for almost 2 1/2 years.

Also apparently the Pvt school in 2021 referenced “medical expense deductible” on the 2021 tax receipt…I didnt think schools (public or private) were able to issue receipts in this reference.

Choosing a private school over a public school won’t get any credit by itself, unless the private school issues a child care deduction slip. Falling behind in school won’t get the DTC either but that is likely required at the start.

Your client would able to claim for the private school tuition as a child care expense, that’s if the receipts discloses the total fees paid, year, administrator name, etc.

Tuition fees may be eligible for the medical expense tax credit (ITA s. 118.2(2)(e)). In order to qualify, a medical practitioner must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities or personnel provided by the school are required because of the student’s mental or physical impairment. The CRA will not use the private school’s reference as a proof of eligibility for the medical expense claim. I’ve personally dealt this for a client, the CRA agent had requested that we provide a letter from the doctor in order for the claim to be considered.


If it’s a denominational school, they could get a charity receipt for part of the tuition.

Thank you!

Sounds like the nut jobs are coming out of the woodwork. Previous accountant claimed private school tuition as a medical expense? Sure, why not? I think we all know you can claim whatever you want as medical expense, and get away with it, PROVIDED it’s not selected for review. You cam claim the vet’s bill for euthanizing and cremating your cat, or your plane fare to Mexico because you had a toothache while on the beach so you want to a local dentist. And, how do you claim private school tuition as child care??? You can claim the extra charge for before/after school care, as in the public school system, but never the entire tuition fees. Come on, people.

Most private schools will issue a child care receipt for part of the tuition. I didn’t mean that they would issue it for the entire tuition but it’s very common that this is issued by private schools.

Even public schools issue child care receipts for noon time supervision.

Yes, this I know. I have not come across tuition being claimed as a medical expense.


We did this for a client some years (decades?) ago…have the child assessed by the family physician or a compentent medical professional. If they will certify for the purposes of the DTC then expenses for schools that deal specifically with this (or tutoring for it) as a medical expense. Generally schools that do so are “independent” (the word private has become obsolete in the area).

I second that,

I was thinking why everybody is conforming to a claim of private coaching, private tuition, private school fees on T1s, yes you are right in saying it’s fine until you get a review and after that you as a taxpayer and your accountant as advisor would learn a lesson for sure.

If you have a doctor’s note that the private tutoring fees are required for school it will be allowed upon review - mine was.


When all else fails, try the Income Tax Act:

118.2(2)(e) For the purposes of [the medical expense tax credit], a medical expense of an individual is an amount paid for the care, or the care and training, at a school, an institution or another place of the patient, who has been certified in writing by an appropriately qualified person to be a person who, by reason of a physical or mental handicap, requires the equipment, facilities or personnel specially provided by that school, institution or other place for the care, or the care and training, of individuals suffering from the handicap suffered by the patient[.]

CRA’ s website ca\n also be helpful:

An appropriately qualified person can be an official of the school, institution or other place of the patient referred top in the ITA.

1 Like

You dealt with this for a client? How did it pan out? What sort of conditions are there I wonder. Any help appreciated!

I do reviews for my firm on this all the time. If it gets reviewed, if she doesn’t have an approved DTC on file, you’ll need to prove she needs to go there and why. It’s an uphill battle for the ones with slight learning disabilities even if they are coded, without the DTC being approved, especially if it’s not specifically a school meant to deal with medical/disability issues. I’d say I’m about 50/50 success rate on them.

1 Like