We’re running this article a *bit* late for tax time – sorry about that. This will, however, serve you well for tax season next year. The question before us is whether or not eyeglasses are tax-deductible in Manitoba. The short answer is, yes! You can actually get a bit of a tax break when you buy glasses. The long answer, of course, is yes, but – and yes, and. We’re about to go into the nitty-gritty of the tax world, so brace yourselves; it’s going to be a bureaucratic ride.
There are two relevant links you’ll need to follow along. The first is lines 330 and 331 – eligible medical expenses you can claim on your tax return. This link provides you with a table that includes all the medical devices you might be able to claim on your taxes. Scroll towards the bottom and you’ll see “vision devices”; that they are eligible, but that they require a prescription. The vision devices described include eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct eyesight. That’s why it specifies you need a prescription; they don’t want you getting a tax exemption on your cool new pair of shades or your colored contacts for your vampire costume.
The other link you want to know about is the list of medical and assistive devices. You don’t have to read through this one, but it gives you a more detailed description of the time frames in which the Government of Canada made allowances for certain medical devices, and what those allowances are. Reading about eyeglasses and contact lenses, you’ll say that with a prescription, they are considered to be zero-rated. Zero-rating is, in short, a tax rate of 0% on the goods. That means when you claim your glasses on your taxes, any GST you paid will be rebatable.
In summary, eyeglasses and contact lenses are tax-deductible in Canada, and thus in Manitoba as well. You do need a prescription, and the tax deductibility comes from vision correcting devices being zero-rated, so you don’t have to pay GST. A few other quick bureaucratic notes: you can claim vision devices that you acquired during any 12-month period ending in 2018 on your 2018 taxes; that means glasses that were purchased in January 2017 could be claimed, so long as you didn’t also claim them in 2017. You don’t need to send in supporting documents with your taxes; you should, however, keep your prescription and receipts in case of an audit later.
In circumstances where you don’t have your prescription or your receipts, you should contact your optometrist. It’s quite likely that they have those materials on record, so long as they aren’t from too long ago. Should you ever be prescribed medications in order to help with your vision, there’s a good chance those will be tax-deductible, too – use the same resources we provided to check it out!