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Medical expenses: Do you get a rebate when you buy over-the-counter medication?

by , 06 March 2014
The issue of medical expenses and rebates is quite confusing for some taxpayers. One issue that always comes up is whether or not you're entitled to a deduction if, for instance, you don't have a medical aid and buy over the-counter medication. Read on to find out the answer to this.

Medical expenses: Can you make a deduction when you buy over-the-counter medication?

The short answer to the above question is 'no'

According to David van Niekerk, a tax expert for the Accounting & Tax Club, in most cases, SARS will disallow over-the-counter medication as a deduction.

Van Niekerk explains that the Income Tax Act (ITA) is clear in that only prescribed medicines can be deducted. You'll find this in the definition of Qualifying Medical Expenses in Section 6B of the ITA.

The bottom line is that if you're one of the many taxpayers who self-medicate, you can't deduct these medical expenses.

The reason?

According to van Niekerk, 'SARS has taken this approach largely to reduce the chance of taxpayers claiming medical expenses for items that they might not have used themselves (or weren't for a dependent). A prescription proves that the medicine bought was for the taxpayer or his/her dependent.'

Is there anything you should know about medical expenses if you're on medical aid?

Yes there is.

Last month, we reported that the tax treatment of medical aid contributions has changed. Click here to find out more about this. Also checkout this article on the 2014 increase in tax credits for medical scheme contributions.

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