B.C. officials highlight new tax-exempt health-related services

Massage Therapy Canada staff
March 25, 2014
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
Minister of State for Seniors and Richmond, B.C., MP Alice Wong and Vancouver South MP Wai Young, on behalf of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, have highlighted the Harper Government’s support for families through new health-related tax relief, in an event recently held at the Department of Finance in Burnaby, B.C.
The government officials were joined by John Lee, Task Chair of the Canadian Coalition of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Associations.

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes a number of measures to reduce the tax burden on Canadians, including health-related tax relief such as an exemption from the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) on acupuncturists’ and naturopathic doctors’ professional services. Changes to the tax treatment of these services and other GST/HST health-related measures announced in Economic Action Plan 2014 became effective on February 12, 2014.

"Whether it’s the introduction of the Family Caregiver Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the ongoing expansion of eligible expenses under the Medical Expense Tax Credit, or the many other actions taken by our Government since 2006, the Government is proud of its record of keeping taxes low through health-related tax relief that better reflects the health-care needs of Canadians. The tax relief highlighted today, including the exemption of acupuncturists' and naturopathic doctors' professional services from the GST/HST, continues our commitment to support Canadians and their families," said  Wong, Minister of State for Seniors and MP for Richmond, B.C.

This tax relief builds on the Harper Government’s record of keeping taxes low for Canadians and their families, according to a Health Canada statement.

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes measures that will expand health-related tax relief by:
– Exempting acupuncturists’ and naturopathic doctors’ professional services from the GST/HST
– Expanding the list of eligible expenses under the Medical Expense Tax Credit to include costs associated with service animals specially trained to assist individuals with severe diabetes, such as diabetes alert dogs
– Providing further tax recognition for costs associated with eligible specially designed medical therapies and training by: expanding the current GST/HST exemption for training that is specially designed to help individuals cope with a disorder or disability to also exempt services of designing such training, such as developing a training plan; including amounts paid for the design of an individualized therapy plan as an eligible expense for income tax purposes under the Medical Expense Tax Credit.
– Adding eyewear specially designed to electronically enhance the vision of individuals with vision impairment that is supplied on the order of a physician or other specified health professional to the list of GST/HST-free (zero-rated) medical and assistive devices.

"We welcome the new measure to add acupuncture services to the list of important health services that are exempt from the GST. This will help alleviate the burden for patients seeking acupuncture treatment. As the task chair of the Canadian Coalition of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Associations, I thank the federal government for recognizing this," said Lee.

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