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: 07/06/2017 1:44 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

How do I renew my physical disability status for tax purposes?
As a result of the change in legislation, an ITR-DD form - Confirmation of diagnosis of disability form for an individual taxpayer (which is available on www.sars.gov.za) has been designed and contains the criteria for the diagnosis of disability.

Who falls under the disabled persons category for tax purposes?
The term "disability" (which replaced "handicapped") means 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 continue to claim my deduction?
As a result of the change in legislation, an ITR-DD form - Confirmation of diagnosis of disability form for an individual taxpayer, which is available on here, has been designed and