Parents of children with special needs have one thing in common: the debilitating cost of raising a child with special needs. These costs typically include an ongoing mix of special education programmes, medical care and lost wages. It so happens that schools that cater for children with special needs are limited and expensive. In addition, parents are faced with transport and specialised therapy costs.
The good news is that parents can claim these expenses provided they satisfy the requirements set by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). If your child has a limitation on their ability to perform daily activities, which falls within the definition of a disability as defined for tax purposes, then all medical and other disability-related expenses should be taken into account for tax purposes.
How do I claim?
An ITRDD-form must be completed by the parent and a duly-qualified medical practitioner. The parent must retain the form once the medical practitioner has confirmed the child’s disability. It does not need to be submitted with your tax-return forms, but should be kept in case SARS requests it. Remember that the disability expenses that are claimed must be closely related to the child’s disability in order for it to qualify.
Out of pocket expenses, which qualify as disability rebates, include costs relating to a child’s disability. If the child did not have the disability, but still required the medical attention, it would not classify.
Before you can claim the fees paid to a special school, SARS will need a letter from a local school indicating that they do not cater for learners with disabilities as well as the fees payable at that school. SARS will then allow you to claim the special school fees.
What else can you as a parent claim as a medical expense?
- Travel expenses for your child with a disability to and from the special school cam be claimed. Prepare a log book of any transport costs if you don’t use a transport service, so that you can claim these expenses.
- Personal attendant-care costs required to look after your child with a disability also qualify. You can claim an additional ten percent of the attendant’s cost if the personal attendant lives with you. Remember the attendant must not perform any domestic duties, but must be employed specifically to care for your child.
- After-care costs or au pairs specifically used to attend to your child with a disability needs;
- Facilitator and/or private tutor fees;
- Extra lessons;
- Special educational toys;
- Specialised therapy;
- Training costs for the parents and siblings to better deal with the child’s disability;
- And interventions, which may be considered necessary for therapeutic reasons can be claimed.
- The costs of alterations or modifications to your assets (for example house) incurred and required as a consequence of your child’s disability also qualify.
What can be done if I did not claim all my medical expenses in previous years?
If you qualified to receive the applicable tax relief in previous years, but you did not consider the disability when you completed your taxes, it is possible to revisits tax returns of previous years.
For more information or assistance with disability tax rebates or for financial advice, contact Numbrfactory. The small accounting firm in Gauteng specialises in disability tax rebates.