Well, we knew it may be coming and we received it today: the notice that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing our IVF medical expense claim.
You would think after 3 IUIs, 1 fresh IVF cycle, a pregnancy loss and a successful FET cycle that the Government would back off and stop sticking it to you to prove your infertility.
Couldn’t I just send this blog as proof? It’s got the whole timeline down, my list of meds, the dates we traveled – pretty much everything they need. If only…
Fortunately, my love of information organization means that I’ve already got spreadsheets and file folders set up that document everything the CRA should be looking for.
Here’s what I recommend:
1. Ensure you know the requirements ahead of time
There are always stipulations when dealing with the government. For example: You can only claim medical travel expenses if you have a doctor’s referral and the clinic is over a certain distance from your home.
Here’s some Canadian resources to review:
- IVF.ca: Tips for medical expenses for taxes
- CRA: Eligible medical expenses
- CRA: Ineligible medical expenses
- CRA: Travel expenses
- CRA: Mileage rates
Also, don’t forget to check in with your health insurance provider to see if you have any fertility drug coverage!
2. Document everything
I created a spreadsheet to document every receipt and expense for each procedure. My spreadsheet had a tab for each procedure (IUI, IVF, FET). Within each tab, I had a table that listed:
- Expense type (i.e. flight, accomodation, meals, drugs, medical procedure)
- Dollar amount
This helps to create a timeline and also allows you to cross-reference your actual receipts to ensure nothing is missing.
3. Organize all the paperwork
I filed all electronic receipts in my email under a specific folder labelled “Fertility”. Everything went in here including all travel receipts (hotels/flights), test requisitions, and any communication with the clinic. The communication is key because it may help to prove why you had to take certain tests, travel or whatever else CRA may question you on.
I created file folders for each procedure and put each printed receipt in them. In each folder, I separated the expenses out by date/type. For example: IVF Prescriptions by Date. Once my spreadsheets were finished, I printed them out to accompany each folder.
4. Ask an expert
It also helps to have a good accountant. I found that even though ours has a great reputation, he wasn’t familiar with IVF expenses in particular. That being said, you are paying him the bucks to figure it out. If you really aren’t sure what to include, your account is there to help you.
5. Be prepared to be audited
It’s a well-known fact in Canada that most IVF patients who claim medical expenses get audited. Following my recommendations will save you some stress come income tax and audit time.
So now, I’ll be spending my Saturday morning putting together my audit package. I handed my medical expenses package over to my accountant at tax time. I just hope he returned it in the same order as I haven’t reviewed it since then. I think it would have been easier if they just requested all proof to be sent with our tax return.
I’ll let you know if any questions or additional documentation needs come up after the CRA reviews it.
Just another hurdle you face as someone who pursued fertility treatments. *sigh*