Tax and Disability

What are the criteria for being considered a person with a disability?

A person who has or whose spouse or child has a disability is entitled to claim certain benefits in the form of an additional medical expenses tax credit. The disability (and the extent thereof) must first be diagnosed by a duly registered medical professional qualified to express an opinion thereon. This is done by way of an ITR-DD form. The ITR-DD form must be completed by you (part A of the form) and a registered medical professional qualified to express an opinion on your disability (parts B and C of the form). Your medical professional will have to answer various questions and confirm whether you, your spouse or child has a ‘moderate to severe’ disability in accordance with the criteria as stated in the ITR-DD for either vision, communication, physical, hearing, intellectual or mental disability. The form only needs to be completed every five years for taxpayers who or whose spouse or child has a permanent disability.
 
Top tip: The eFiling mobisite is now accessible to blind and visually impaired taxpayers.

What are tax benefits for a person with a disability?

A taxpayer who has or whose spouse or child has a disability in accordance with the criteria set out in the ITR-DD form and confirmed by the medical professional, can claim 33,3% of the qualifying out-of-pocket medical expenses, which include disability related expenses, paid during the relevant year of assessment. SARS has prescribed a list of physical impairment or disability related expenses in the form of a published list. The expense does not automatically qualify as a deduction by mere reason of its listing. The expense must also be necessary for the alleviation of the restriction on a person’s ability to perform functions of daily living. For example, if a person in a wheelchair, who has no visual impairment, buys a hand-held GPS, the cost of the hand-held GPS will not qualify as a deduction even though the expense appears in the list. This is because the hand-held GPS is not directly connected to this person’s disability. But in the case of a person who is, for example, visually impaired the cost of the hand-held GPS may qualify. There is a detailed list of the expenses you can claim.
 
The taxpayer is also entitled to the Medical scheme fees tax credit in respect of contributions made to a registered medical scheme. For further information on this, kindly refer to the ‘Guide on the determination of medical tax credits’.

What are the tax benefits for a person with a physical impairment?

A ”physical impairment” has been interpreted to mean a restriction on a person’s ability to function or perform daily activities after maximum correction which is less than a “moderate to severe” limitation (‘maximum correction’ meaning appropriate therapy, medication and use of devices). A taxpayer who has or whose spouse or child has a physical impairment may still claim certain qualifying prescribed expenses, but subject to further limitation, which means that person will not automatically qualify for the 33,3% concession referred to above.

How do I claim for these benefits?

These expenses can be claimed when the taxpayer submits his or her annual income tax return (ITR12). Please note that the ITR-DD form must have been completed and must confirm that the person has a “moderate to severe” limitation in one of the diagnostic criteria before the 33.3% deduction of qualifying expenses in respect of a disability can apply. There is a full guide to all the expenses you can claim. You can also download the audio file of the guide here.
 
You mustn't submit the ITR-DD form with your tax return, but must retain it in the event of a SARS audit.
 
Top Tip: Do you need help? Visit your nearest SARS branches which offers a specialised service to people with hearing and/or walking disabilities:

Need help?

If you are hearing impaired and need assistance, you may email us on _ContactDeaf@sars.gov.za.

Kindly note the underscore _ before the ContactDeaf email address.

 

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Last Updated: 18/09/2018 4:06 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

Who falls under the disabled persons category for tax purposes?
The term "disability" refers to a moderate to severe limitation of a person's ability to function or perform daily activities as a result of a physical, sensory, communication, intellectual or mental impairment.

How do I have my disability re-confirmed in order to claim my deduction and how do I renew by disability status for tax purposes?
You must ensure than an ITR-DD: Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability Form is completed (available online) and available in the event that SARS requests proof thereof.