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Parents and caregivers of people with a disability can claim past income tax credits for up to ten years.  People with disabilities and their caregivers can have their income tax returns reassessed back up to ten years. The 2004 federal budget restricted back filing after Dec. 31st 2004 to ten years. People with disabilities or their caregivers who have never claimed the Disability Tax Credit [DTC] should claim it now. Some claimant families have received refunds of $12,000,  $17,000,  $51,000 or more. Thousands of Canadian families, who care for a person with a disability, may be eligible to receive thousands of dollars in refunds from income tax they have already paid.

Who can benefit?

More than 3 million Canadians have a disability and depend on someone for support. A caregiver may be a senior caring for a disabled spouse or a common law partner, a child caring for a disabled parent, or grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. Any one of these caregivers is eligible to file or back file for this tax credit. However many of these people are unaware of the Disability Tax Credit’s existence? The tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that reduces the amount of income tax payable and it may create a refund for past taxation years.


If an individual or someone they care for is over age 18 and has a mental or physical disability that is severe and prolonged they could have claimed Disability Tax Credit on their income tax return. If at anytime during the year they maintained a dwelling where the relative and their dependent lived, they may also be able to claim the Caregiver amount. If the family has never claimed the Disability Tax Credit they may back file for up to ten years. Parents who care for a disabled child under age 18 may claim a reduced Disability Tax Credit. Families with low or modest incomes may be eligible to receive the Child Disability Benefit.

Other benefits of the DTC

Qualifying for the DTC is the criteria to allow parents or relatives to establish a Registered Disability Savings Plan. It allows the individual or their caregiver to make claims for tax credits and deductions; such as education and tuition fees, attendant care, private nursing, aids to daily living, dental costs, prescription drugs, hearing aids, adapting a vehicle, travel expenses for medical treatment not locally available, therapy, group home fees, talking books, tutoring, renovations and many more.

Government action

In 2003 the federal government initiated a committee to explore issues relating to the Disability Tax Credit for persons with disabilities. The committee’s recommendations are included in their final report which can be viewed on their web site at www.disabilitytax.ca. Or you can visit the Canada Revenue Agency web site at www.cra.gc.ca. If you have never claimed the Disability Tax Credit, DO IT NOW! Don’t delay; do it today, before you lose $1,000. It’s never too late.

John Dowson Ch LP

Mr. Dowson is the Executive Director of LifeTRUST Planning an organization that is committed to serving the needs of families of people with a disability. They can help get back taxes you have already paid call 1 877-DTC-1986 or email dtc@life-trust.com  Visit their web site at www.life-trust.com.