Tax and Disability

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

If you, your spouse or a dependant has a disability, you are entitled to claim certain qualifying medical expenses in the form of an additional medical expenses tax credit. This will include expenditure that is prescribed by SARS and which is in consequence of any physical impairment or disability. 
 
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 or your dependant 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.

What expenses can I claim? 

SARS prescribes a list of physical impairment or disability expenses which, in addition to other qualifying medical expenses, may be claimed in consequence of any physical impairment or disability suffered by you or any dependant.
 
Below are the links to the prescribed list of physical impairment or disability related expenses:

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. 

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

If you, your spouse or child has 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, as well as 33,3% of the fees paid (if any) to a registered medical scheme or qualifying foreign fund as exceeds three times the amount of the medical scheme fees tax credit to which you are entitled. For more information on medical scheme fees tax credits, please refer to this webpage and to the ‘Guide on the determination of medical tax credits’.

If a dependant other than your spouse or child has a disability

Dependants other than your spouse or child (such as your mother, father or sibling) will not fall into the above category, although qualifying medical expenses relating to a physical impairment or disability may still be claimed for such dependants, but will be subject to limitation. For more information on this limitation, as well as on who qualifies as a dependant, please refer to this webpage and to the ‘Guide on the determination of medical tax credits
 
Note that you may also be entitled to a separate medical scheme fees tax credit in respect of contributions paid to a registered medical scheme (if any). For further information on this, kindly refer to the ‘Medical Scheme Fees Tax Credit’ webpage.

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

If you or your dependant is a person with a physical impairment, you may also claim, in addition to certain qualifying medical expenses, those expenses that have been prescribed by SARS in its list of physical impairment and disability expenses – provided the expenses are in consequence of the physical impairment suffered by you or your dependant. 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. 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 medical 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:

Remember to make an appointment.

Need help?

If you are hearing impaired and need assistance, you may email us on [email protected].

Kindly note the underscore _ before the ContactDeaf email address.
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Last Updated: 22/10/2020 3:13 PM     print this page
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