04/19/2013 05:45 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT

If Your Child Has ADHD You Could Qualify for a Tax Credit

financial accounting

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a provision for individuals living with a disability to claim a disability tax credit. While this has been in place for a long time, it was just a few years ago that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) were allowed to claim the tax credit, if they meet the criteria as set out by CRA.

If you qualify for the disability tax credit, CRA will allow you to claim a disability amount on your tax return, and this will then reduce the amount of tax that is owed. This lowers the amount of tax that you pay, as long as you are paying tax. To qualify, your health care professional will have to complete the T2201 form, and then you submit it to CRA for review. For more information on the disability tax credit, refer to the CRA website, or talk to your tax professional.

You can qualify for the DTC if you (or your child) have ADHD, though getting approved is not ensured. The DTC is approved for people who have a significant disability related to their condition. Some people with mild ADHD have mild to no disability, and some people with severe ADHD have very significant disability related to their condition. This is where the documentation provided by your healthcare professional becomes important for CRA to determine if you qualify.

If you have a child or teen with moderate or severe ADD/ADHD, or ADHD with significant coexisting conditions (like Autism, Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety, Learning Disabilities) it is worth completing the form and applying. To do this, download the T2201 form from CRA and have your doctor complete it. In general, doctors will charge a small fee for completing the form, and you can talk to your doctor about the fee if you have a concern with it.

Beware of Disability Tax Credit Marketing Companies:

When considering the disability tax credit, it's important to be aware that there are third party companies who can help you to apply. When they help, they will have you sign a contract in which you commit to provide them with as much as 33 per cent of the money you receive back from the government. When you consider the fact that if you're approved, CRA can go back for up to 10 years (if applicable), the amount that families can receive back from CRA can be thousands of dollars.

In my experience as a psychiatrist in clinical practice, these companies provide some help to the doctor in completing the form (i.e. they provide some suggested wording), and they help families to understand the process. However, I have never found their wording to be any better than wording that I use already for my patients, and as such, it has been my experience that they have added no value whatsoever to the process, apart from reassuring families along the way.

These companies spend a lot of money advertising online and offline to convince you that they can help you to get thousands of dollars from the government because of your ADHD. The reality is that if you download the form yourself, and have your doctor fill it out, you are just as likely to get approved, and you'll save yourself up to one third of the money that is rightfully yours.

The best approach is to talk to your doctor about the disability tax credit. If you think you may qualify, get your doctor to fill out the form for you, and send it in to CRA. Avoid using the companies which take too much of your money for relatively little service.

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