So, it has been tax season for the last two months, and I only recently found some time to sit down and start on mine for the tax year 2015. In Canada, personal taxes need to be submitted by the end of April, so I’m cutting it close this year! I’m normally right on it when I get my T4 information, etc. in March, but clearly not this year with the amount of schoolwork and house hunting I had on the go! I do my taxes on my own through TurboTax which costs about $20 a year, which is peanuts compared to taking them to an accountant. I’ve been doing mine for years, so I’m pretty used to it.
This year’s was a bit more complex though – being on two different benefit plans, and then having no benefit coverage. I was able to input the details of my income from my past employer, my RRSP contributions, the interest gained from my RRSPs, my disability tax credit, however, when it came to medical expenses, I’m a bit frustrated.
I have been audited I think for the past 4 years in a row, for my medical expenses submitted. In Canada, we can claim our medical expenses as long as we surpass a certain percentage of our income spent on medical (for example, drugs, massage, chiropractor, etc) and the government will refund us 5% of that total amount (peanuts), but with mine, it adds up fast. I have decided to send in all of my details this year so that I am NOT audited again, but it has been a feat trying to get all of the details they need. The government does not want to see every single receipt and slip of paper along with my excel spreadsheet where I track everything – they just want a print out copy from the pharmacy (potentially more than 1), your insurance breakdowns, etc. They refuse to do ANY work whatsoever.
My spreadsheet tracker:
SO, although I have kept every single receipt and kept track of every medication, massage, chiropractor, naturopath, etc. paid out of pocket, they don’t want to see that, they want the actual breakdown from the practitioners / offices. I went over to Shopper’s Drug Mart this morning to have them print out a copy of every drug paid for in 2015, only to find out that EVERY SINGLE SHOPPERS is run on its own, therefore, they can’t see what I have purchased from another shopper’s. This angers me on so many levels – first of all, when I look at my receipts, I filled prescriptions at 5 different shoppers in the GTA last year – 4 in Toronto and 1 in Oakville, not to mention, I went to 2 different Rexall’s, and some other random pharmacy in North Toronto. I now have to phone up every single pharmacy and have them send a copy of my report to one location where I can pick them up. Fine, now that I know this I will NEVER be filling my prescriptions at different locations, however, in an emergency situation, this isn’t always possible! I used to experience chronic Urinary Tract Infections and ended up in walk-in clinics or the ER several times a year, until I found a natural remedy that helped instead of antibiotics, so, as you can imagine, I filled those prescriptions at the closest pharmacy available at the time!
One pile of receipts:
For tax purposes, this is painful, but it also angered me because the pharmacist at the Shopper’s near us in Mississauga has NO RECORD of ANY of my information in her system, and apparently this is for privacy reasons. Really? I don’t care if a pharmacist can see my information! I said to the woman, “so what you’re telling me is I either need to be up front and tell you exactly which medications I’m on when I’m filling a prescription, and you guys also need to be on the ball and ask ME which ones I’m on, which I know does NOT happen” and she said “yes, that’s why we recommend you only stick to one pharmacy” uh huh, ok lady, because that’s possible. Not only does our medical system need an overhaul in order to properly handle chronic illnesses, but I’m learning that our pharmacies need one as well! This is absolutely ludicrous!!!!!!! Unless I tell the pharmacist that I’m allergic to Sulfa and Penicillin, she won’t know!!! I’m just utterly gobsmacked right now.
To top it off, when I was leaving the store, she said to me “you’re young, this shouldn’t be a problem for you” and I turned around and said “I MAY LOOK HEALTHY AND YOUNG, BUT I SUFFER FROM 4 CHRONIC ILLNESSES!!!!!!” I didn’t say that for pity, I said that because this is the common theme I encounter in my life – I look healthy and therefore I must be healthy. No, no I’m not.
So, fast forward, I now have to phone 5 different pharmacies for a printout of my prescriptions that were either paid for out of pocket or partly paid for by insurance, my naturopath for a breakdown of the services I paid for with her (she never actually provided me with the invoices paid, and when I checked my credit card I could only go back 3 months!), my chronic pain clinic for the massages and chiropractic adjustments I paid for, and on top of that, I have to call Greenshield who I had coverage with in January and February, Manulife who covered me from March to April, and then SunLife who covered me in December. YIKES!!!!!!! All just to appease the government because they can’t handle going through my receipts themselves and need a printout of it all. SO UTTERLY PAINFUL!
My taxes are SO complicated when you compare them to Bart’s – he just has his basic statements that you punch in the numbers for and it’s done – I did his in 5 minutes lol.
It makes me want to vomit when I do my yearly taxes, I have paid over $3000 out of my pocket for expenses not covered by insurance, on top of that, I had a BUNCH of supplements amounting to $1800 I also paid out of pocket for. I was only employed from January to April, and then I was a student, so you can imagine what kind of dent that put into my account last year. Ugh. So frustrating!!!
If you’re looking for me, I will be on the phone and my computer for the next several hours so that I can submit these taxes ASAP.
The good news? I think my flare has finally subsided. Woo!