If you are interested in accessing the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) for your child, here is how you can apply, step-by-step:
Families of children with childhood apraxia of speech may have expenses related to their child’s speech disability such as private speech or other therapy costs. These costs can be significant and families seeking financial support to help cover these costs may be interested in pursuing the DTC.
The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps reduce the amount of income tax persons with disabilities (or their supporting persons) may have to pay. It exists as a means to improve tax equity for taxpayers who have these unavoidable additional expenses related to disability that other taxpayers don’t have to face.
It is very important to note that being approved for the DTC is a precondition for accessing a number of other benefits. These can be more financially significant than the DTC itself and include the Child Disability Benefit and government contributions to the Registered Disability Savings Plans.
- Determine if your child might qualify.
If your child has a disability in vision, hearing, walking, feeding, dressing, performing the mental functions necessary for everyday life, or speaking they may be eligible for the DTC. The disability tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities, or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. The disability amount may be claimed once the person with a disability is eligible for the DTC. This amount also includes a supplement for persons under 18 years of age at the end of the year.
Being eligible for this credit may open the door to other programs. For more information, go to canada.ca/disability-tax-credit or see Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information (source: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pbg/t2201/t2201-18e.pdf retrieved March 15, 2019).
For speech, successful applicants for the DTC are “considered markedly restricted in speaking if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices, they meet both of the following criteria:
– They are unable or take an inordinate amount of time to speak so as to be understood by another person familiar with the patient, in a quiet setting and
– this is the case all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time)”
If your child does not meet this specific criteria, but is affected significantly across two or more areas of development, your child may be eligible for the DTC under the “cumulative effects” section. Only a medical practitioner can complete the form if this is the case.
Your child does NOT need to have to have a diagnosis of any kind to apply or be eligible for the DTC. It is based solely on meeting the above criteria.
Your child’s SLP should be able to advise whether your child meets this criteria. If your SLP is unsure, or not permitted by their employer to advise on/complete the DTC, speak to your physician and/or consider another SLP who may be able to help. You can also contact Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC), who may be able to advise on next steps.
- Print form T2201.
This is available from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/forms/t2201.html
- Fill out Part A.
Fill out only the sections of Part A that apply to you.
If you want the CRA to adjust your tax returns (in most cases they can adjust all applicable years if eligibility is approved), tick the “Yes” box in Section 3 of Part A.
- Give the Form T2201 to a practitioner to fill out and certify Part B.
A Speech-Language Pathologist may fill out this form for speech disability. A medical doctor or nurse practitioner is able to fill out all sections, including speech. There are sections that can also be completed by a psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or other practitioners. Choose the practitioner/area that is most relevant to your child meeting the criteria, as it will not improve your child’s eligibility to have more than one section filled out.
👉 Tip: If your SLP or doctor doesn’t have experience with the DTC application or has other questions, the CRA website has helpful information for professionals filling out the form as well as a number for them to call as needed.
If your practitioner charges a fee to complete the DTC, you may be able to claim this on your taxes as a medical expense (see line 330 or line 331 on your return)
- Send your completed T2201 to the CRA and keep a copy for your reference. You can do this online or post in the mail. The address is on the last page of the form.
While parents report a wide range of response times, the CRA reports a faster response rate when the form is submitted online.
It is important that your practitioner provides as much detail as possible in the “effects of impairment” section during the initial application. Should the CRA require more information or clarification, they will contact the practitioner who completed the form for you and the application process can be delayed.
Tip: If you send your form before you file your income taxes, the CRA will review your form before they assess your return, and this may delay in your income tax assessment.
- You will receive a notice of determination by mail, or email if you submitted online.
✅ If your T2201 application is approved, your notice of determination will tell you which year(s) your child is eligible for the DTC and may include information on other programs that are dependent on DTC eligibility (like the RDSP<let’s spell this out>).
You do not need to submit a new T2201 until the CRA asks you to do so. The CRA will notify you one year before your eligibility expires and in the year it expires. If your child still meets eligibility criteria at that time, you will need to submit a NEW T2201 for the CRA to review, following the same process as above.
If, during your eligibility period, your child’s speech improves to the point that they no longer meet the criteria for the DTC (see step 1 above) you should contact the CRA.
❎ If your application for the DTC is denied, you will receive a notice of determination outlining why.
Check your information provided by the medical practitioner, in Part B of the T2201 you submitted, against the reason given. The CRA bases decisions on information given by the medical practitioner.
If you disagree with the CRA’s decision, you still have options:
- a) You can call the CRA to ask questions or to discuss your application.
- b) You can request a review of your application by contacting the CRA in writing. Ensure that your request includes any relevant medical information that you have not already sent, such as new or updated medical reports, or a letter from a medical practitioner who is familiar with your situation.
- c) You can send in any relevant medical information that you have not already sent, such as medical reports or a letter from a medical practitioner who is familiar with your situation. The information you provide should describe how the impairment affects the activities of daily living.
- d) You can file a formal objection to appeal the initial decision no later than 90 days after the date on the notice of determination.
While it may seem like a hassle and/or extra cost to have the DTC paperwork completed, if your child is deemed to be eligible, you may find great relief in the financial credit it can provide.
For more information please check out this article by Marnie Loeb
Or visit the CRA website (link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html) and these videos for additional information (link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/cra-multimedia-library/individuals-video-gallery/series-tax-measures-persons-disabilities.html?clp=ndvdls/srs-txmsrs-pwd2-eng&fmt=mp4)
Brooke Rea is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and founder of OPPEN CAS. She is passionate about professionals and families having access to high quality, valid and reliable information about best practices in Childhood Apraxia of Speech and owns the Childhood Apraxia & Speech Therapy Centre in Guelph, ON.
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