Claiming Dental Expenses Not Covered by an Insurance Plan in Canada

Claim dental expenses on your tax return to save money.
Claim dental expenses on your tax return to save money. (Image: dental repairs image by sumos from

Each Canadian spent an average of $364.40 on dental care in 2008, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. If you are one of the 37 percent of Canadians who have no form of dental insurance coverage—or if your dental insurance does not cover all of your family's dental expenses—you may be able to claim your out-of-pocket expenses from visits to dental hygienists and dentists on your federal and provincial tax returns. The government will not refund these expenses directly; instead, it considers them "non-refundable tax credits" that can help reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay.

Things You'll Need

  • Federal and provincial tax package
  • Receipts for dental expenses
  • Calculator

Decide which 12-month period you will use to claim dental expenses. Your dental expenses will combine with other medical expenses you incurred, such as prescription eyeglasses and medications. If you have other medical expenses to claim on your tax return, the dates when you incurred these other expenses may influence when you want your 12-month period to begin and end. Note that the 12-month period must end during the tax year for which you're filing a return.

Assemble the receipts for all of the dental expenses you or your spouse paid for during the 12-month period you've chosen. If you have dependents who were less than 18 years old in the year you're filing your taxes, you can usually claim their dental expenses as well.

Decide who should claim the dental expenses. If you are married or common-law, it usually works to your advantage if the spouse with the lower net income claims the expenses for both partners. Complete the calculations for both options to see which one results in the greatest reduction of tax owed.

Confirm that the dental procedures you want to claim are considered legitimate expenses by the government. You cannot claim purely cosmetic procedures, such as tooth whitening. The Canadian government deems the expenses as legitimate, however: legitimate dental procedures you have paid for outside Canada, legitimate dental procedures that your dental insurance did not completely cover, and dental insurance premiums.

Fill out the appropriate lines of the federal and provincial tax returns dealing with medical expenses.

Submit your tax return by the April 30 deadline. Include all the receipts for the dental procedures you are claiming, with the exception of proof of dental insurance premiums you have paid; keep these records in case the Canada Revenue Agency asks to see them.

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