TAX BLOG

Tax and Disability

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

First, ITR-DD must be completed by you (part A) and a registered medical practitioner qualified to express an opinion on your disability. Your medical practitioner will have to answer various questions and confirm that you have 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.
 

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 practitioner, can claim all qualifying out-of-pocket expenses, which include disability related expenses, in full. SARS has prescribed a list of physical impairment or disability expenses. 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 buys a hand-held GPS, the cost of the hand-held GPS will not qualify as a deduction even though the expense is 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.
 

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

Physical impairment has been interpreted to mean the restriction on the person’s ability to function or perform daily activities after maximum correction which is less than a “moderate to severe” limitation. A taxpayer who has or whose spouse or child has physical impairment may still claim certain qualifying prescribed expenses but subject to a limitation for taxpayers below 65 years (same limitation applying to persons below 65 and there is no physical impairment).
 

How do I claim for these benefits?

These expenses can be claimed when the taxpayer submit his or her turn 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 full deduction of qualifying expenses benefit can apply. There is a full guide to all the expenses you can claim.

You must not submit the form with your tax return, but must retain it in the event of a SARS audit.


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