A taxpayer whose child has a disability in accordance with the criteria set out by SARS can claim a third of the qualifying out-of-pocket medical expenses (including disability related expenses) paid during the relevant tax year as tax credits.
The ITR-DD form is the starting point of these special deductions:
- The form needs to be completed by a registered medical professional qualified to express an opinion on your child’s disability
- Make sure the doctor signs and dates the form before the current tax year ends (ie before 28 February 2018 for this tax year)
- The form is valid for 5 years and needs to be submitted with other supporting documents every tax year
Remember that you can only claim deductions to the extent that you’ve paid tax during the year.
SARS requires the following:
- Proof of costs (invoices or till slips)
- Proof of payments (bank statements or receipts)
- Expenses paid must be in the name of the tax payer
You can deduct a portion of expenses directly related to your child’s disability from your total taxable income:
- School fees: You can claim the amount over-and-above what you would have paid at a school in your neighbourhood, ie Unity College school fees less the school fees of a public school in your area.
- Travelling costs: Extra kilometres travelled to reach Unity College as opposed to the neighbourhood school. Also any travel cost directly linked to your child’s disability, eg driving to therapists. Keep a detailed logbook or use an app on your smartphone.
- Courses and training to give you the skills to help care for your child.
- Nappies for your child (after the age of two).
- If your child is on a special diet (eg Gluten-free Casein-free diet for Autism) the special food can be claimed – mark the items on the till slips and keep a summary of these items. You can deduct a third of the expense as these special food items are more expensive than normal food (eg gluten-free bread vs normal bread).
Each child’s situation is unique. If you can prove that an expense is essential to your child’s condition, SARS will have to consider the claim. Therefore it can be beneficial to make use of a tax consultant with experience in this field. (Remember that the fees paid to a specialist to complete your tax return can also be claimed as a deduction!)
– By Gavin Pringle, CA (SA)