How to claim gluten free purchases for your taxes in Canada?

So did you know in Canada you could actually claim a cost differential of a gluten free product?

That means if you buy a loaf of bread for $4.50, but the average cost is $1.50, you can claim $3.50 as part of a medical expense.

But there are some rules to this.  First, you need to keep the following on hand in case of audit, but you do not need to submit:

  • a letter from a medical practitioner that certifies that the person has celiac disease and needs a gluten-free diet
  • receipts for each gluten-free food product that is claimed
  • a summary of each food product that was bought during the 12-month period for which the expenses are being claimed (see the example below)
  • you can only do this for products that are marketed as gluten free.  So make sure the products have a gluten free claim on the label. 
  • You can only claim the costs eaten by the person that has Celiac.  Interpret that how you may.  

The above rules and below example comes from the current (Jan 7, 2020) Revenue Canada website.  Click here for the official information from Revenue Canada.  Scroll down to the gluten free section.

Example Calculation from Revenue Canada (notice Revenue Canada doesn't show how to calculate portion eaten, probably because you can't)
Food product:
Number of products bought (for the 12-month period):
Average cost of product with gluten:
Average cost of gluten-free product:
Incremental cost:
$6.99 - $3.49 = $3.50
Amount to claim:
$3.50 x 52 = $182.00

From posting suggestions on our Facebook Page and Instagram account, a lot of people claim that it is not worth it to them, or their accountant says it is not worth it for a $50 return.

HOWEVER, that $50 return can mean a lot to a lot of people.  My accountant also always tells me "Why give the government your hard earned money when you don't have to."  Every dollar counts that you can get back, so we try to use every tax credit that we qualify for.

  • I AM NOT AN ACCOUNTANT, but it is my understanding the more medical expenses you have to claim, the more value this has to you.  So claim any uninsured./uncovered medical expenses like what you paid out of pocket for prescription medications, dental work, vision etc.
  • It is not worth doing this for a product that is naturally gluten free, and has a gluten free claim on the label, because likely there will be no cost differential. 
  • Fall in love with spreadsheets immediately!  This is much easier done on a spreadsheet.  The first year you do this, it will take you longer, but after that you just use the same basis of a spreadsheet to do it again year after year.
  • If you have an accountant, do the calculation for them.  Don't hand them the receipts, most likely they will talk you out of it, because it is more work for them.
Click here for the official information from Revenue Canada.  Scroll down to the gluten free section.