Have you claimed your disability rebates?

 

Tax season is here. What better time to review your tax claims? According to Numbrfactory, an accounting firm based in Soweto, the national disability prevalence rate is 7,5 percent. That means that about 3,8 million South African have a disability; yet an estimated 331 000 taxpayers with disabilities are not claiming their disability rebates. The accounting firm estimates that up to R40 000 could be claimed back through these rebates.

 

What is a disability rebate?

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) allows people with a disability to claim back 33,3 percent of all qualifying medical or out-of-pocket expenses made in order for them to work or go to school. These claims are referred to as disability medical deductions or disability rebates.

A taxpayer with a disability as well as a spouse or parent of a person/child with a disability is eligible to claim certain fees back from SARS. Expenses that are considered for this rebate include: personal attendant care expenses, travel expenses, insurance, maintenance and repairs, aids and even service animals.

The claim must, however, be in line with the disability. A person with a mobility impairment, for example, cannot claim for a hand-held GPS if they do not have a visual impairment as well.

 

How do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this disability rebate, a person with a disability or their caregiver (spouse or parent, for instance) must submit an ITR-DD form. It must be completed by a doctor who specialises in the person’s disability. For example, an optometrist or ophthalmologist would need to complete the form for a person with a visual impairment.

The form must indicate the severity of the disability and whether it is permanent or temporary. It will need to be stamped with the doctor’s stamp and reflect the doctor’s details. It will then have to be submitted to SARS, and it is valid for five years.

Numbrfactory provides education and assistance for tax-related issues for people with a disability, so they’re your best bet if you need further information (0861 66 0007).

4 thoughts on “Have you claimed your disability rebates?

  1. can you please clarify the carer/relations issue decision by sars. that is why can t your spouse not qualify for claiming carer costs for a person with a disability. is it not unfair? how can we influence the legislation as people with disabilities?

    • The spouse, parent or child is specifically excluded as a care attendant. For example, if the wife is a person with a disability and the husband looks after her, the amount paid to the husband by the wife will not qualify for a deduction. In terms of the income Tax Act, “qualifying medical expenses” mean any expenditure, that is prescribed by the Commissioner (other than expenditure recoverable by a person or his/her spouse), incurred and paid by the person during the year of assessment as a result of any physical impairment or disability suffered by the person or any dependent of the person.

      Expenditure in the personal attendant category includes nursing services, agency fees and salaries for an attendant specially employed to assist the person with a disability. The duties performed by the personal attendant must not be that of a domestic worker.

  2. How Sad It is That A DISABLED person Can Now Only Claim 33% Of Their Disability Expenses When 3 Years Ago It Was 100%. This AppEARS To Contravene The United Nations Paper On Disability To Which South Africa Is A Signatory

    • Previously taxpayers over the age of 65 with disabilities were allowed full deductions of all medical expenditure. From 1 March 2014 taxpayers are now subject to a new system which allows only tax credits. The system of deductions for medical scheme contributions was converted to credits in an attempt to improve the equity of the tax system and there will no longer be allowed any deductions against Income Earned, but only tax credits that reduce Tax Payable.

      Depending on the age of the taxpayer, a different tax credit will apply. This will simplify the system and make it simpler for taxpayers to understand and calculate their benefit from medical expenses. Persons affected with disability can deduct 33,3 percent of qualifying medical expenses in addition to the medical Tax Credits already available. It is believed that the amendments with regard to medical scheme fees tax credits have truly leveled the playing field for all taxpayers. It has provided a way in which equality can be reached between high and low-income earners without providing one with a profound advantage.

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