2017-0690361E5 medical expense tax credit

Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA. Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.

Principal Issues: Is the cost of prescription swimming goggles an eligible medical expense for the purpose of the medical expense tax credit?

Position: Yes, if the swimming goggles are prescribed by a medical practitioner or optometrist specifically for the treatment or correction of a specified defect of vision.

Reasons: The legislation.

Author: Shea-Farrow, Nancy

Section: 118.2

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                                                                                                                      N. Shea-Farrow
April 11, 2018


Re: Prescription swimming goggles

We are responding to your email of February 16, 2017, concerning whether the cost of prescription swimming goggles is an eligible medical expense for the purpose of the medical expense tax credit (METC).

You have explained in your email that the prescription swimming glasses are for XXXXXXXXXX.  As a result, you would like to buy prescription swimming goggles for XXXXXXXXXX.

Our Comments

This technical interpretation provides general comments about the provisions of the Income Tax Act (“Act”) and related legislation (where referenced). It does not confirm the income tax treatment of a particular situation involving a specific taxpayer but is intended to assist you in making that determination. The income tax treatment of particular transactions proposed by a specific taxpayer will only be confirmed by this Directorate in the context of an advance income tax ruling request submitted in the manner set out in Information Circular IC 70-6R7, Advance Income Tax Rulings and Technical Interpretations.

Medical expenses which are eligible for the METC are limited to those described in subsection 118.2(2) of the Act. If a particular expenditure is not described as an eligible medical expense in subsection 118.2(2) of the Act, or if the conditions under which the expenditure would qualify are not met, the expenditure will not qualify for purposes of the METC, even though the expenditure may have been incurred for medical reasons. The Canada Revenue Agency’s general views regarding the METC are contained in Income Tax Folio S1-F1-C1, Medical Expense Tax Credit (the “Folio”) which is on the Government of Canada website at www.canada.ca.

Paragraph 118.2(2)(j) of the Act allows for the cost of eye glasses or other devices, as prescribed by a medical practitioner or optometrist, for the treatment or correction of a vision defect of the patient as an eligible medical expense. Therefore, if the swimming goggles are prescribed by a medical practitioner or optometrist specifically for the treatment or correction of a specified vision defect the amount paid for prescription swimming goggles would qualify for the METC.

We would also like to bring to your attention paragraph 118.2(3)(b) of the Act since you stated that you have a health care plan. This paragraph provides that an individual shall not include as an eligible medical expense, any expense to the extent that the individual or certain other persons are entitled to be reimbursed for the expense. This rule and a noted exception to this rule is described in further detail in paragraph 1.16 of the Folio.

We trust our comments will be of assistance.

Yours truly,


Lita Krantz, CPA, CA
Manager Tax Credits and Ministerial Issues
Business and Employment Division
Income Tax Rulings Directorate

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