Tax and Disability

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

If you, your spouse or your child has a disability you are entitled to claim certain benefits in the form of an additional medical expenses tax credit. It is very important to note that a disability for tax purposes may be defined differently from that expressed by, for example, the World Health Organisation. A disability for tax purposes means a moderate to severe limitation of any person’s ability to function or perform daily activities. This can be as a result of a physical, sensory, communication, intellectual or mental impairment. The limitation (and the extent thereof) will only be regarded as a disability if it has lasted, or has a prognosis of lasting, more than a year and it has been diagnosed by a duly registered medical practitioner trained to diagnose the applicable disability or to express an opinion thereon.
 

What supporting document is required to substantiate the disability? 

For tax purposes SARS requires you to retain a completed “Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability form" (ITR-DD form) as supporting evidence of the disability. The ITR-DD form must be completed as follows:
  • Part A of the form must be completed by you;
  • Parts B, C and D of the form must be completed by a duly registered medical practitioner who is trained to diagnose the applicable disability or to express an opinion on the disability. He/she must answer various questions and confirm, amongst others, whether you, your spouse or your child has a ‘moderate to severe’ disability in accordance with the criteria stated in the ITR-DD form.

A completed ITR-DD form that has been endorsed by a duly registered medical practitioner will remain valid for:

  • 10 years where the disability is of a permanent nature; and
  • 1 year where the disability is of a temporary nature.

Top tip: The eFiling mobisite is now accessible to blind and visually impaired taxpayers.

What are the tax benefits for a person with a disability?

If you, your spouse or child has a disability that has been confirmed by a registered medical practitioner by way of an ITR-DD form, you can claim 33,3% of the qualifying out-of-pocket medical expenses (which includes disability related expenses), paid by you (and not recoverable) during the relevant year of assessment.

Below are the links to the prescribed list of physical impairment or disability related expenses:

Note: An expense does not automatically qualify as a deduction by mere reason of its listing. In order to qualify for the tax deduction, the expense must 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 on the list. This is because the hand-held GPS is not directly connected to this person’s disability. In the case of a person who is visually impaired, the cost of the hand-held GPS may qualify as a deduction.
 
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” means the restriction or limitation on a person’s ability to function or perform daily activities after maximum correction (i.e. appropriate therapy, medication and use of devices) is less than a “moderate to severe” limitation. If you, your spouse or your child has a physical impairment, you may claim certain qualifying prescribed expenses. In other words, these expenses are subject to limitation and you will not automatically qualify for the 33,3% concession referred to above. For further information on this, kindly refer to the ‘Guide on the determination of medical tax credits’.
 

How do I claim for these benefits?

You can claim the qualifying expenses when you submit the income tax return (ITR12) for the relevant year of assessment.

Please ensure that you have an ITR-DD form that has been completed in full (see above) in order for SARS to consider the deduction of qualifying expenses in respect of the disability. You are not required to submit the ITR-DD form with your income tax return. SARS will request it in the event of an audit or inspection.
 
Top Tip: Do you need help? Visit your nearest SARS branches which offer 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.
Last Updated: 24/03/2020 1:13 PM     print this page
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