Celiacs can claim extra cost of food as a medical expense

Once again it’s tax time.  As a Celiac did you know that if you are directed by your doctor to be on a Gluten-Free (GF) diet, you can claim the incremental cost of food as an eligible medical expense?  Below is what the Canada Revenue Agency has to say about it:


Taxes (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Persons who suffer from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) are entitled to claim the incremental costs associated with the purchase of gluten-free (GF) products as a medical expense.

You do not qualify for the disability amount (line 316) based on the inordinate amount of time it takes to shop for or prepare GF products.

What is the “incremental cost”?
The incremental cost is the increased cost of purchasing a GF product as compared to the cost of a similar non-GF product. It is calculated by subtracting the cost of a non-GF product from the cost of a GF product. The calculation is shown below in the sample summary.

What items are eligible?
Generally, the food items are limited to those produced and marketed specifically for GF diets. Such items include, but are not limited to, GF bread, bagels, muffins, and cereals.

Intermediate items will also be allowed where the patient suffering from celiac disease uses the items to make GF products for their exclusive use. These include, but are not limited to, rice flour, GF spices, etc.

What if there are several people consuming the GF products?
If several people consume the products, only the costs related to the part of the product consumed by the person with celiac disease are to be used in calculating the medical expense tax credit.

What documents do I need to support a claim for the medical expense tax credit?
If you are filing a paper return, include the following supporting documentation. If you are filing electronically keep the following supporting documentation in case we ask to see it:

  • a letter from a medical practitioner confirming the person suffers from celiac disease and requires GF products as a result of that disease;
  • a summary of each item purchased during the 12-month period for which the expenses are being claimed (a sample summary is shown below); and
  • a receipt to support the cost shown in column (4) of each GF product or intermediate product claimed.

Your medical tax credit claim must exceed 3% of your net income or $2,109 (whichever is less), so it may not be worth the bother of calculating it if gluten-free food is your only medical expense. For more information, check the Revenue Canada web site (updated 2013-01-03)

Thanks to Jennie Johnson, members of the Kelowna Chapter now get an Excel spreadsheet emailed to them to help with the calculations.


About David E. Fowler

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2 thoughts on “Celiacs can claim extra cost of food as a medical expense

  1. Wow! It’s like you double pay with every purchased of gluten – free foods. Not only you will spend money for the foods but also with the test and diagnostic test or I mean the different modifications by doctors.

  2. I found the Thrifty Foods website helpful in trying to find gluten-free items to compare to regular items. They seem to be one of the few websites with grocery prices on it.

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