News & Info

DTC in the News!

Centre_Block_-_Parliament_Hill

The Media has recently been reporting on the Disability Tax Credit, and the challenges applicants can expect when applying.

One of the articles posted by CTV News, on their website reports “People with diabetes losing disability tax credit because of ‘advances in technology’: minister“.  This article states that according to the Revenue Minister (the Minister in charge of Canada Revenue Agency) advances in technology such as with portable wearable insulin pumps, are the reason that most adults with diabetes do not qualify for (the) Disability Tax Credit.

Two other articles, both posted by The Financial Post, one that reports “Ottawa accused of new tax grab after disability tax credit clawback hits those with mental illness – Sources say that some lifelong sufferers of mental disabilities have been cut off from the disability tax credit after having received the credit for decades“.  While the second reports “The delays are tremendous’: Widespread backlogs hamper CRA streamlining, frustrate taxpayers. Accountants and CRA officials said backlogs have occurred in the appeals, assessment and auditing divisions of the agency”.

We here at BMD thought it important to clarify what is occurring, why, and how this can be addressed.  First regarding diabetes and the DTC, any diabetic must be assessed whether they qualify in one of four ways. First, whether they are UNABLE to function in at least one function. Second, or whether they require an INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME to function in at least one function (three times slower than an average person). Third, or if they are equivalent to requiring an INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME to function in the combined effects of two or more functions.  In other words if the patient cannot perform one function, is slowed in one function, or slowed somewhat in two or more functions.  Fourth, or if a person requires life sustaining therapy three times per week (minimum) for at least 14 hours per week, they can also qualify.  So, although the media attention is on a patient’s use of a portable insulin pump, it is more important to know whether the patient qualifies under any of the four rules.  In this case the Life Sustaining rule – 3 times per week 14 hours.  Unfortunately, the time using the pump would not historically be considered by CRA being that the patient is able to carry out other daily functions while using the device. More importantly what needs to be assessed is whether the patient qualifies based on requiring an inordinate amount of time in performing one of the DTC Certificate listed daily functions, or based on requiring equivalent to an inordinate amount of time in the combined restrictive effects of two or more functions.  These two degrees of restriction can be classified as moderate in one function or equivalent to moderate in the combined effects of two or more functions (as many as eight functions can be considered).  By the most part then, it is fair to say that most people with diabetes likely qualify for the DTC on the basis of these two definitions, moreso than on the Life Sustaining Therapy definition.  Thus, although advances in technology may be resulting in diabetics spending less time in the administration of their insulin, and less of them qualifying for the DTC in that regard, it is more important to report that most diabetics likely qualify for the DTC based on other criteria.  Our experience here at BMD Services is that too many diabetics, their doctors, and CRA, seem unaware that diabetics can qualify for the DTC if they require an inordinate amount of time in one function, or they are equivalent to that in the combined restrictions of two or more functions.

Regarding the DTC and the mentally ill, similar to above, what is not being addressed is that more patients with mental restrictions are being denied the DTC whether new claimants or those re-applying.  The reason for this is because of the increased use of a second DTC form referred to as the DTC Request for Additional Information Letter. This letter was significantly increased in its use after 2011, where for prior decades it was hardly used at all.  Most doctors who have certified patients DTC Certificates indicating that their patients are markedly restricted in performing mental functions, that they require an inordinate amount of time, are being further questioned by this second form, and in such a way that is unreasonably confusing for doctors such that the result is that these claims are denied. These request for additional information letters are the primary cause of denials in spite of the doctor certifying they qualify.  This prevalent use of a second form, one that is worded very confusingly, seems designed to increase denials.  That is the issue with these cases, and in fact is much more broad in that these forms contribute to denials in other functions as well.

Regarding the delayed income tax adjustments, which includes DTC benefits, the simple fact is that CRA has closed two of its regional tax offices and thus has less staff working on adjustments.  Closing these offices predictably was going to have this result unless the offices that remained opened increased their staff to be at least equal to those who were let go.  CRA on their information line has openly admitted that their reduced staff is the cause, and that recently management has advised they are attempting to help correct this problem.

In conclusion, it is my hope that this additional information helps to better explain the issues involving the Disability Tax Credit.  We at BMD Services are committed to investigating and researching information about the DTC so that we can be optimally informed and aware of this program to continue our efforts to advocate for DTC claimants towards a fully successful DTC application.

Feel free to contact us for a free, quick, and easy DTC assessment at any time.  We would be glad to talk.

Take care,

Barry M. D. Ho
President, BMD Services

Thanks CRA Staff!

Thank you to Canada Revenue Agency Call Center Staff!

It has been reported to BMD Services, that periodically, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Call Center (1-800#) is contacted by people who appear to qualify for the DTC, yet either have been denied the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), or have doctors that will not sign their Disability Tax Credit Certificate (DTC application forms).  Call Center staff then respond sympathetically that claims success rests primarily on the doctors support of DTC claims and their providing CRA with the required information to CRA accurately. So, when doctors are not supporting claims and/or not providing accurate required information to CRA, there is not much more that CRA can do.

Based on this, CRA staff are referring callers to us at BMD Services, as they report that we have a very successful record of providing services helping people to overcome the challenges of applying for the DTC.  We at BMD understand that the Federal Government has a blanket policy of not recommending specific service providers to the public, and respect and understand this policy.  However, we view these referrals as a testament to the fact that our service is needed, and that it can make all the difference.

Canada Revenue Agency, Medical Practitioners (and their support staff), and BMD Services are professionally and ethically obligated to do all we can to help those who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit to be formally and accurately acknowledged as such, and to receive all of their due associated benefits, as simply and quickly as possible.

Barry M. D. Ho
President, BMD Services

Nurses Added!

We at BMD Services are happy to announce that Canada Revenue Agency has authorized Nurse Practitioners to certify Disability Tax Credit Certificates.  Under the new Federal Budget, Nurse Practitioners have been included in the list of medical practitioners authorized to certify DTC Certificates for any functions that medical doctors are authorized.  This means that Nurse Practitioners are authorized to the same degree as medical doctors.  They are equal.

This is great news and deserving for Nurse Practitioners who have undergone additional training in order to achieve their “practitioner” status, and to more effectively treat patients needs, and for patients who have relied on the qualified professional care of these nurses.

It has been our experience here at BMD Services that many Nurse Practitioners take a proactive role in understanding the DTC qualifying rules, who have worked with us and our clients, toward having the required application forms completed accurately on behalf of patients.

We welcome the inclusion of Nurse Practitioners now authorized to certify Disability Tax Credit Certificates!  Great news!

  • Barry M. D. Ho
    President, BMD Services

 

Your money!!!

 

Tax-considerations-for-International-Businesses-Doing-Business-In-Canada

The Disability Tax Credit is your money not Government money!  

The Disability Tax Credit is your income tax money that has been overpaid from past years.  It is not government program money.  This is important to know, as the claiming the DTC is a request to get a portion of your tax money back for past years, and income tax reduced for future years (you pay less tax).

Periodically, we here at BMD Services are contacted by Canadians who acknowledge that they have a medical restriction that may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, but that they are hesitant to apply because they do not wish to take money from the government.  They also comment that they do not want to take money from others who they perceive may “deserve” it more, due to more serious health conditions.

That is why we felt it important to point out that the DTC is your own money (or your supporting family members if applicable), and if you qualify, you deserve every right to receive your tax money back if approved, as well as reduced at tax filing time for future years, and as such potential claimants should not feel any hesitation in applying.

For a quick, free, easy DTC assessment, feel free to contact us anytime.  We would be glad to hear from you!

New DTC Forms

NOTICE:

Canada Revenue Agency has recently made significant changes to the DTC application forms.  These changes are the most significant in the last 20 years.

Canada Revenue Agency has changed their Disability Tax Credit application forms. This change significantly impacts applicants and medical practitioners authorized to complete Disability Tax Credit forms.  The main change is that the DTC Certificate, the main DTC application form, has been reduced from a 12-page document to a 6-page document.  Although this change may appear to simplify the form by being shorter, the actual impact of the removal of the 6 pages is to significantly reduce and/or remove key definitions and examples that patients and doctors rely on in order to fully understand all of the qualifying DTC rules.

This change will likely have little impact on the severely restricted, or UNABLE to function claimants.  This change will have a significant negative impact on the moderately restricted, or SLOWED claimants.  Being that these moderately restricted claimants, who do meet the DTC qualifying requirements, are most often either not supported by their doctor or are denied by Canada Revenue Agency, the removal of this important additional information is not helpful.  In fact, a case could be made that these changes have and will result in more valid claimants not ever receiving their just due benefits.

In addition, these changes now require doctors to have on hand a secondary form, a related information “Guide”, that is now the sole source of some key definitions and examples, that are now not contained in the DTC application forms, where in previous years was not required for doctors completing the DTC application forms. Most doctors would not be expected to have this guide on hand when completing DTC application forms, and as a consequence, they will not have all the information they will need to fully understand all of the DTC qualifying rules. Thus, patients who do qualify will not receive their doctors support.

It is important to note, that we at BMD Services are suggesting doctors are deliberately refusing to support DTC patients who do qualify.  Instead, we understand why doctors struggle with understanding all of the DTC qualifying rules, particularly those for the moderately restricted patient, as factors such as these contribute to such struggles.  Though we do remain steadfast in our recommendation to all Canadian medical practitioners who are authorized to complete DTC application forms, to be as well informed as they can be, to spend the time and effort to best understand the DTC rules, because if they do not, many patients will never receive their just due DTC benefits.

We at BMD Services have experienced hard working, diligent, and well informed Canada Revenue Agency staff doing their best to advise and support Disability Tax Credit claimants as well as our service efforts on behalf of such claimants. Unfortunately, these staff are limited in their ability to help claimants and our advocacy service, by information and tools made available to them by Canada Revenue Agency management where clearly, claimants and doctors continue to struggle to understand the full scope of the DTC qualifying rules.

Proof of this can be easily established by one read of the current Disability Tax Credit certificate.  Most who read it are of the impression that a person must be severely restricted, or disabled, in order to qualify. This is in fact what we see is the most common perception made by the majority of doctor’s in Canada.  The fact is however, that moderately restricted, and even the lesser restricted in two or more restrictions, do qualify.  Our service knowing this, has been very successful in advocating for these lesser restricted Canadian’s over the last 10 years.

Overall then, the point of this post is to let folks know that we at BMD Services remain diligent in keeping up with the current Disability Tax Credit qualifying rules, the governing documents, and any changes that Canada Revenue Agency is making regarding the DTC, to best ensure those who do qualify are being fairly treated and approved.  As such, we highly recommend that anyone with a health restriction, contact us for a quick, free, and easy DTC assessment so we can advise whether the DTC will benefit them, and the amount of money they can expect.

 

Can You Walk?

PEOPLE WHO CAN WALK, OR FUNCTION IN GENERAL CAN QUALIFY!

This is just a reminder to everyone visiting our website, that Canadians who can function, but are slowed in functioning, can qualify for the Disability Tax Credit.

Are you slowed in walking, or require more time with your bowel or bladder functioning (use the washroom more often), hard of hearing, slowed in dressing (bad back), slowed in preparing foods (heavy pots or pans), or other functions?  If so, you likely qualify for the Disability Tax Credit benefits.

With up to $2,000 a year, up to 10 years back, and similar amounts for many future years, the Disability Tax Credit is a valuable benefit that should be seriously considered by anyone who may qualify.

Send us a quick email, or use our contact forms online, or call us to quickly find out whether you qualify and the benefit you can expect.  That is a good start!

  • Barry M. D. Ho

 

Free Assessment a Must!

QUITE FRANKLY, IF YOU ARE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OUR FREE ASSESSMENT, YOU ARE MISSING A GREAT OPPORTUNITY!

Our free assessments could be best described as educational and informative one-on-one discussions designed to increase knowledge of the Disability Tax Credit program, the qualifying rules, the benefit amounts, and the application process.

In just a few minutes our Assessments:

  • Assess whether a person’s medical restrictions qualify for the DTC
  • Assess how many years past the person qualifies for the DTC
  • Assess whether a person may qualify for future years
  • Assess the lump sum benefit the person can expect for past years
  • Assess the benefit the person can expect each year for future years
  • Assess whether transferring the DTC to a family member may help
  • Assess whether the person should apply for the DTC
  • Assess whether the person would benefit from qualified professional help
  • Provide detailed information about our service if applicable

The questions we answer in our Assessments:

  1. Does a person qualify?
  2. For how many years past and future?
  3. Will they benefit for the applicable years (any annual income taxes paid)?
  4. Will their case be easier or more difficult and should they get help?
  5. How would a DTC service help and what will it cost them?

The above answers these important questions, provides much more comprehensive information about the DTC, and helps people to determine their best next steps.  All inquiries are private and confidential.

Our promise:

  • Our DTC information is fact based (legally corroborative)
  • Our DTC Information is not based on biased or subjective opinions
  • Our DTC Information is comprehensive and accurate
  • We do not use inquiries as marketing contact sources
  • We do not solicit those who inquire
  • All inquiries are private and confidential
  • There are absolutely NO OBLIGATIONS to our free assessment.

Take the few minutes and contact our office for your FREE ASSESSMENT.

Hard-of-Hearing…BMD can Help!

A key group of Canadian’s that qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) are the Hard-of-Hearing (HOH). BMD recognizes that the majority of Canadian’s who are HOH are likely not receiving the DTC.  Being that the DTC can provide these people with as much as $20,000 in a lump sum benefit, as well as up to $2,000 per future year (at income tax filing time) for many future years, these amounts can substantially help with the cost of hearing aids and provide access to important hearing resources.  The DTC then is a very important benefit for the hearing impaired.

BMD understands that doctors and Audiologists have historically demonstrated that they find the qualifying rules of the DTC for the Hard-of-Hearing to be confusing and stressful. What is most important however, is that the HOH do qualify for the DTC, and as such should be supported in their claim efforts.  That is why BMD has taken more recent efforts to best help the hearing impaired qualify for the DTC.  Being that they qualify, every effort should be made to help them to receive their due benefits.

The Canadian Hearing Society and the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association have also recognized that the DTC is a very important benefit for the hearing impaired and that the qualifying rules can be confusing for claimants and medical practitioners.

According to the Canadian Hearing Society’s “Position Paper on the Disability Tax Credit as it pertains to hearing loss” they are concerned. On their website they state the following:
“The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit available to Canadians with permanent hearing loss where the hearing loss has been determined to markedly restrict an individual from performing functions of daily living, even with the use of their hearing aids or cochlear implants. The existing statutory deduction, as discussed more fully below, is itself unfair and overly restrictive. However, the interpretation given to the statute by the Ministry of Finance has compounded the problem significantly by providing information which is ambiguous, overly restrictive and ultimately discriminatory.”
http://www.chs.ca/position-paper-disability-tax-credit-it-pertains-hearing-loss

According to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, “Hard of hearing individuals (are) being unjustly denied the Disability Tax Credit”.  They post the following on their website. “Ottawa, June, 2011 – The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), a national organization representing millions of Canadians who live with hearing loss, urges the Government of Canada to amend the words contained in the eligibility criteria under the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) as it applies to individuals who are hard of hearing. The present criteria, particularly the words “quiet setting”, have caused a great deal of uncertainty amongst physicians, audiologists and other qualified authorizers of the Disability Tax Credit Certificate. This uncertainty has led to many hard of hearing individuals being unjustly denied the Disability Tax Credit, and brought to the forefront its discriminatory nature.”
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ttp://www.chha.ca/chha/media-press.php?subaction=showfull&id=1308854374&archive=&start_from=&ucat=7&

BMD acknowledges the above, and proactively supports the Hard-of-Hearing to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit and has helped many to receive their full DTC (and associated) benefits. Recently BMD has helped a father and daughter with reduced hearing qualify for over $40,000 in DTC and Child Disability Benefits based on their hearing restriction.  These people matter, just as all do, and these amounts of benefits can make a huge difference.

In 2015 BMD has been actively involved with key governing bodies of Canadian Audiolgists to help improve upon their current DTC Certificate completion guidelines. At this point in time, their current guideline version is arguably the key source of information Audiologists use when attempting to complete the DTC Certificate.

If you, a loved one, or someone you know, is Hard-of-Hearing within any of the last 10 years, or has a health condition within that time that causes daily restriction, be sure to ask about the DTC, and to contact BMD for more information.  We are here to help.

Sincerely,

Barry M. D. Ho
President, BMD Services

 

CBC talks to BMD!

CBC News talks to BMD for information about the Disability Tax Credit

Tom McFeat, a Senior Writer for CBC News,  researched the Disability Tax Credit for a recently posted article on the CBC website.  Here is an excerpt what he reported…

“A Winnipeg-based tax credit consultant says it isn’t just potential claimants, but also their doctors, who frequently don’t understand that severe disabilities are not the only ones that qualify for the DTC. The result, according to Barry Ho of BMD Services, is that doctors will often tell patients they don’t qualify when, in fact, they do. Ho says he knows of doctors who have told patients they couldn’t qualify for the DTC simply because they walked into the examining room and thus were assumed to be too mobile to qualify.”

‘Doctors, for the most part, do not understand how to complete the DTC certificate for the moderate and less-than-moderate groups.’ Barry Ho, BMD Services

   “The key aspect of the DTC is for anyone involved to understand that the DTC qualifying    rules include the severe, moderate and less-than-moderate restriction levels,” Ho said.  “Doctors, for the most part, do not understand how to complete the DTC certificate for the moderate and less-than-moderate groups.”   

“Ho, who is a former CRA auditor, says it would be more accurate to rename the disabled tax credit as “the health restriction tax credit.” “

 

DTC Explained!

This year marks yet another year the Disability Tax Credit remains a valid annual income tax health benefit available to the Canadian public. This also marks the 8th year BMD Services has been helping people to better understand the DTC.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind Canadian’s that the DTC is an important and impactful benefit that needs to be well understood by all health restricted Canadian’s, their family members, medical practitioner’s, income tax service providers, as well as anyone involved with health affected Canadian’s.  Although our website makes every effort to provide comprehensive information about the DTC, this reminder may help further by summarizing the key points about the DTC.

  • The DTC is an annual income tax reduction credit that can apply to as many as 10 past years to all future years.
  • The DTC can reduce annual income taxes by as much as $2,000 for adults, and $3,000 for children.  This means that families may receive a lump sum income tax credit/refund for up to $20,000 to $30,000 for a 10 year claim, and up to $2,000 to $3,000 of reduced income taxes payable at tax filing time each year moving forward.
  • The DTC is not only for the DISABLED. Severely and Moderately restricted can qualify. Any person of any age who has a health restriction that causes them to be either UNABLE to function, or to be SLOWED (to the degree specified) in functioning, in any one basic activity of daily living, may qualify for the DTC.
  • For patients not slowed enough in any one function, there is a catch all category: If a person isn’t quite slowed in any one daily activity to the degree specified, they may qualify if they are slowed in two or more (as many as eight) daily activities where their combined effects would equal being slowed in one function.
  • Dig deep and ask questions.  Ask Canada Revenue Agency, tax preparers, doctor’s, or any reliable source you can find about the DTC.  Find out all you can in an effort to be well informed.  Here at BMD we strive to be the definitive, evidence-based source of accurate information about the Disability Tax Credit. We welcome all inquiries and provide free unbiased and comprehensive information to all who ask.  We love talking about the DTC.
  • All said and done, we empower all potential claimants with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions within their best interests.

Our free assessment objectives:

  • Determine whether a person qualifies medically for the DTC.
  • Determine the number of years past and future a person may qualify for the DTC.
  • Determine the potential DTC credit/refund amount the claimant can expect based on their specific income tax history/status for the years applicable.
  • Determine if a person would benefit from getting help with their DTC claim application ( as not everyone needs help with a DTC claim).
  • Provide information on what services BMD can provide, the time-frames, and costs of the service if the claim warrants help, and claimants elect to engage a service.

I hope this information was helpful to visitors to our website.  If you are a person or know of a person who has a health issue or number of health issues that impact their day, then give us a call to quickly and easily find out if they qualify, the benefit they can expect, and their options moving forward that are within their best interests and preference.

We are here to help.

– Barry M. D. Ho
barryho@bmdservices.ca
Toll Free: 1-855-546-9199