*live stream link now available – read on for more information!
*Please only sign up via Eventbrite if you intend to attend the event in person, as space is limited.
*Can’t make it to the event in person? The presentation will be live streamed and available for viewing immediately afterwards. Click the following link just before 6:30pm PST on March 14th 2019 to gain access to the presentation. This link also acts as a way to access a recording of this event, so even if you miss the live streamed presentation you can use the link to view the presentation at any time after it has finished. https://mediasite.audiovisual.ubc.ca/Mediasite/Play/bb7b0b9891b34649b2fbd66a56281a541d
Barbara Arrowsmith Young and the Eaton Arrowsmith team look forward to sharing this event with you on March 14th – either in person or via live stream! If you know others in your community who may also be interested in attending – either in person or virtually, please considering forwarding on this email, or sharing this information via the social media channels listed below. Thank you!
By Mike Campagne, Disability Tax Services Ltd.
This article is not to be construed as financial advice, but rather as general information. Always consult a tax professional in determining the optimal way for you to file your medical expenses or any other relevant tax credits and deductions.
As a general rule, if you have a child with a cognitive challenge that requires special schooling – like the Arrowsmith program – it is important to get advice from a tax professional with an in-depth understanding of related disability credits and deductions. Those sections of taxation are administered differently than other areas of personal taxation.
In the recent years, numerous tax-based credit and benefit programs have been introduced to assist families, but many are misunderstood or overlooked.
For this reason, I wanted to write about a topic that is relevant to all families with children attending Eaton Arrowsmith: claiming tuition as a medical expense.
However, while claiming special schooling costs for a child with a learning disability or mental impairment yields valuable tax savings, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg of what may be available.
There are a range of potentially applicable programs that include: the disability tax credit, related child disability benefit supplements to the child tax benefit, family caregiver amount credits, travel expenses (in limited circumstances), and the registered disability savings plan (RDSP). Arts and fitness credits have been eliminated for tax year 2018.
Not every child with a learning disability or impairment in mental functions will qualify for tax credits and benefits, but many do. These programs are complex and pre-assessed with a rigorous CRA testing system that often leads to erroneous denial of tax credits and benefits to Canadian families.
Recently CRA has been challenged on assessment procedures and a parliamentary advisory committee has been appointed to investigate concerns. That committee asked for my participation and my take home message is that many families with children with cognitive challenges have been denied a fair hearing for a range of tax and benefit programs. This may have happened to you and your child, and improperly denied benefits can run into the thousands of dollars. If you are unsure if you are receiving all eligible tax and benefit supports we provide a free initial analysis via a phone consultation. This can be scheduled with a call to our office at 604-415-5311 or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
2018 Rules on medical expenses:
Line 330 – Medical expenses for self, spouse or common-law partner, and your dependent children born in 2001 or later:
You can claim on line 330 the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:
- your spouse or common-law partner; and
- your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 2001 or later.
You can claim eligible medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in 2018 and not claimed for 2017. Generally, you can claim all amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada.
Your total expenses have to be more than 3% of your net income (line 236) or $2,302, whichever is less, to yield federal tax savings.
Reimbursement of an eligible expense – You can claim only the part of an expense for which you have not been or will not be reimbursed.
The medical expense is claimable by the date paid, rather than the date invoiced.
Medical expenses for other dependants must be claimed on line 331. (The most common example of this is a child over 18 living at home). Line 331 – You can claim the total of the eligible expenses minus either $2,302 or 3% of your dependant’s net income (line 236 of the income tax and benefit return), whichever is less, to yield tax savings.
The corresponding provincial lines for the medical expense claims are 5868 for a child under 18 and 5872 for a child over 18.
School for persons with an impairment in physical or mental functions – a medical practitioner must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities, or personnel specially provided by that school are required because of the person’s physical or mental impairment.
A question I have often been asked is, “Why do I need this certified by a medical practitioner?” The simplest way to explain this is to think of it as if your child has been prescribed special schooling due to a learning disability or impairment in mental functions.
Adapted schooling for a child who has no impairment, is generally not claimable. However, I would note that in my experience the description of what qualifies as an impairment in mental functions is relatively broad. With the admission entry process at Arrowsmith, I would expect all students attending the Arrowsmith program could meet this standard.
Which parent should make the claim?
Normally it is most advantageous for one parent to claim the entirety of the family’s medical expenses.
As only the combined medical expenses over $2,302 or 3% of net income result in a tax reduction, in a two parent family the lower income earner will often have the greatest tax reduction.
The corresponding provincial lines for the medical expense claims are for self, spouse and a child under 18 (line 5868) and for a child over 18 (line 5872). The threshold for provincial useable medical expenses differs slightly by province. For BC residents, the 2018 provincial tax year threshold is $2,165 or 3% of net income, whichever is less.
For example, with special schooling expenses of $30,000 and spouses with net incomes of $100,000 and $40,000, and no other claimable medical expenses:
The higher income spouse would see useable medical expenses of $27,698 ($30,000-$2,302) versus useable medical expenses of $28,800 ($30,000-$1,200) for the lower income spouse. By useable medical expenses, I am referring to that portion which leads to a tax reduction.
For a BC resident, the provincial useable medical expenses would be $27,835 ($30,000-$2,165) for the higher income spouse and the same $28,800 for the lower income spouse.
If you already have medical expenses over $2,302 or 3% of net income, whichever is less, the entire special schooling expense yields claimable tax credits.
Ensure to compare the amount you can claim with the amount your spouse or common-law partner would be allowed to claim. Either parent can make the claim, just choose that claim which leads to the largest tax reduction – run the numbers for both scenarios before filing you 2018 taxes. Most tax programs will ask you, when you enter medical expenses, whether they are to be “optimized”. Selecting yes normally leads to the tax software working out which spouse should claim the medical expenses, but I recommend doing the calculations for each parent to be sure.
And remember: medical expense claims create non-refundable credits, meaning they are valuable only in reducing taxes paid or owing. So, while the lower income parent might have more useable medical expense credits, if that person doesn’t owe enough tax to utilize them, it could be that less useable credits for the higher income spouse yield a larger tax saving.
So let me emphasize: run different scenarios, including a splitting of the medical expense claim, to find the best tax reduction outcome. A good tax preparer will do this and even consider within that calculation how other tax credits which are claimable by either spouse are allocated, as that can also impact the value of the medical expense claim. Taxes can be complicated. I recommend getting professional tax preparation assistance.
In the rare case where neither spouse does pay tax (such as a quite low family income or a high level of other deductions), there are no tax savings as the credits are non-refundable. In cases where a family is extremely low income, there may be a medical expense refund claimed, but in my experience families with such low incomes can rarely afford special schooling, so I will not address that issue here.
Tax planning opportunities can center around timing of claims in light of overall medical expenses.
Example (regarding the federal medical expense credits threshold): Sue is a single Mom who makes $100,000 net income. She plans on having her son Joe, who has a learning disability, have intense special schooling from September to March, cost $15,000 in 2017 and $15,000 in 2018. Sue has no other medical expenses. If she claims the expenses by calendar year, she has a useable medical expense amount of only $12,698 in each of 2017 and 2018, for a total of useable medical expense above the threshold of $25,396. This is due to the threshold being applied twice. But if she chooses to claim the period of September 2017 to August 2018 on her 2018 tax filing, her useable medical expense amount increases to $27,698 as the threshold is applied only once. As well, if she paid the entire special schooling amount in 2017 (a prepayment of the January to March special schooling), Sue would have the $27,732 useable amount for her 2017 filing.
How to meet the CRA requirement of “certified by a medical practitioner”?
Here is a typical letter (optimally on stationary identifying the doctor or registered psychologist) certifying the special schooling is required due to a learning disability or impairment in mental functions:
Joe Sample is my patient and a student diagnosed with a learning disability. Joe requires an adapted special schooling program that addresses this impairment. Joe is undergoing therapy/treatment for his learning disability at Eaton Arrowsmith School.
(Signed Dr.) W. Smith
While a doctor or registered psychologist is usually the best choice, I have seen the CRA accept medical practitioners with fewer qualifications as long as their field is relevant to learning impairments.
Will I be audited?
CRA has in some past years set a threshold on medical expense claims for automatic computer generated review (audit is way too strong a term here). These “audits” are usually easily addressed by mailing to the CRA your Arrowsmith receipt and a basic letter like the example above. Most regular Canadians can handle this on their own, but if you run into any issues with the CRA here, give me a call.
Over the years, there have been occasions when families with a student at Eaton Arrowsmith have had their tuition medical expense claims rejected, but that was just the result of poor or inadequate communication in responding to the CRA query. In every instance I have been involved with where an Eaton Arrowsmith family encountered such a denial, I was able to intervene and see the CRA denial reversed and the medical expense claim validated.
How much tax savings does the claim yield?
For BC residents, this normally works out to 20.06% of the useable medical expense for middle or high-income earners (though the amount of tax reduction can be less in certain circumstances). The maximum tax relief, for a person with substantial other medical expenses above the 3% of net income or $2,302 threshold, on $30,000 of qualifying tuition expenses, works out to $6,018.00 for BC residents.
For business owners with a Health and Welfare Trust or Private Health Services Plan, the tax savings can potentially nearly double, but such plans have expenses and requirements, and I know of only a few clients over the years utilizing such a plan – they’re complicated. As a discussion of this component is rarely applicable, I won’t bother to cover the details here. If you are a person owning his or her own business, you may want to review these options online via a Google search, as there are companies in Vancouver who can explain and administer such plans.
There are also potentially claimable medical expense travel expenses if the commute to Arrowsmith is over 40 kilometres (each way), but there are complex requirements and provisions for such claims so you should consult with a tax professional on the viability of claiming travel expenses.
If you would like a free initial phone consultation regarding tax saving opportunities that may be applicable to your unique circumstances, please email me directly at email@example.com or call my office at 604-415-5311. Mike Campagne CFP, BA
Our colleagues at the Arrowsmith Program are hosting an exciting event that we wanted to share with you. The Arrowsmith Program is based on the application of neuroscientific research and for 40 years we have worked to help students strengthen the weak cognitive capacities underlying a range of learning difficulties.
On February 21st, 2019 Dr. Greg Rose from Southern Illinois University, and Drs. Lara Boyd and Rachel Weber, both from University of British Columbia, will present their latest research about the Arrowsmith Program and its effectiveness. All three academic leaders are currently undertaking research projects into various aspects of the Arrowsmith Program and its outcomes, and this presentation will focus on the following aspects of their work:
* Behaviour relationships in children with learning disabilities – Dr Lara Boyd
* Benefits of Arrowsmith Training on Brain Connectivity and Neuropsychological Measures – Dr Greg Rose
* Neurocognitive and Behavioural Outcomes of the Arrowsmith Program – Dr Rachel Weber
Date: Thursday, February 21st, 2019
Time: 7:00pm to 10:00pm EST Venue: W New York – Times Square, 1567 Broadway, New York City, NY Presentation room: Studio 1,2,3
Please click here to register to attend the event in person.
There are two other options to watch the presentations.
1. Watch the live presentation via live-streaming.
Date: Thursday, February 21st, 2019
Time: 7:00pm to 10:00pm EST (4:00pm to 7:00pm PST) You can register for the live-streaming link here https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/live-stream-presentation-by-researchers-from-ubc-and-siu-research-studies-on-the-arrowsmith-program-tickets-55298402009?aff=EAG
2. Watch the recording of the presentation. You can register here to receive the link to the video recording when available.https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSddE2H8OhNlSWxFjW2kwNFqkWcBllmKWvFaV5rsWUGiDluYPA/viewform
Join Howard Eaton for a evening of interesting insight and conversations and learn how you can improve your large scale brain network connectivity! Read more and register here.
Research has identified that there is a neurobiological basis for learning difficulties. Neuroscientists around the world have been studying the brain networks responsible for various behaviours such as reasoning, attention and memory and language processing. In education, the approach to learning disabilities has been to find ways for the brain to compensate for these neurological difficulties. Recent research out of Southern Illinois University on the Arrowsmith Program’s Summer Cognitive Intensive Program highlights that brain networks responsible for reasoning, attention and memory can improve in connectivity through cognitive training; and thus compensation strategies – that are currently a focus in educational planning for those with learning disabilities – are not the only option. The implications of this research is significant for the field of Learning Disabilities.
We recently conducted a survey with Eaton Arrowsmith parents and discovered that 65 per cent of the time the decision to send a child to EA is made by both parents.
Mothers are typically thought to be the decision-makers when it comes to their children. In fact, 84 per cent of the people surveyed were women.
But that doesn’t mean dads aren’t involved in making serious decisions about their kids’ educations.
In the below video, John talks about the concerns he had before enrolling his daughter at Eaton Arrowsmith. He also shares the process that led to the decision and how it has changed his child’s life.
This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate all the dads who search for solutions for their kids’ learning difficulties and will do anything to see them succeed.
Howard Eaton’s new book, The Brain Pioneer: The True Story of How Barbara Arrowsmith-Young Used Brain Science to Help Children With Learning Disabilities, can now be ordered on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
Current Eaton Arrowsmith families will soon be able to purchase the book at a discounted rate from their schools. Watch for updates about the book’s release on our Facebook page and through our school newsletters.
Did you know your brain is plastic?!
That’s right: because “plastic” means it can change.
This is the story of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. As a child she was told she would never overcome the learning disabilities that made school so difficult and frustrating for her. But Barbara refused to believe that was true.
With courage, inventiveness, and resilience, she found ways to actually change her brain and improve her skills. A dedicated researcher and innovator who came to be known as “the brain pioneer” for her groundbreaking research on what’s now known as “brain plasticity,” Barbara has transformed how people with learning disabilities are perceived and educated.
Barbara created her own brain improvement program, and opened the Arrowsmith School in 1980 to bring the program to other students. Today there are over 100 schools offering the program around the world. The program can also help adults who have had brain injuries from stroke or accidents.
Through Barbara’s passion and achievements, she has taught the world that children with learning disabilities and people who have suffered brain injuries can change their brains, and dream of a brighter future!
Read on to find out how Barbara made her incredible discovery.
Includes a history of studies in brain plasticity, amazing brain facts, vital brain health recommendations, and a comprehensive glossary.
Please join us on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 (6:00pm-8:00pm) at Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver/Magnussen School/Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre for our annual Community Resource Fair.
This event will give you – our wonderful families and other community members – access to practitioners in our area who, like Eaton Arrowsmith, provide support to children and adults to help them grow and develop healthy brains.
Students and staff at Eaton Arrowsmith White Rock showed the Lower Mainland how exercise can boost concentration, reduce anxiety and improve cognitive development on Breakfast Television.
This winter, the school added fitness breaks to students’ days to reduce stress in the classroom and help kids strengthen their brains.
Research suggests exercise can have a postitive impact on learning and students at EA White Rock are feeling focused thanks to the fitness program.
Being on Breakfast Television was the perfect way to celebrate Brain Awareness Week, which runs from March 12-18, and promotes the benefits of brain research.
The EA fitness program was also featured in Peace Arch News.
On May 15th 2017 Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver cognitive and academic staff members came together, along with some of our alumni parents and students for our first ever round table discussion about life before, during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to and from Eaton Arrowsmith, from the perspective of those who know it best – our wonderful teachers and families – can be found here!
Join us online via our YouTube channel for our first ever round table discussion with current Eaton Arrowsmith cognitive and academic teachers, EA alumni students and their parents as we discuss life before,during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to and from Eaton Arrowsmith, from the perspective of those who know it best – our wonderful teachers and families! Have a question that isn’t being discussed? Feel free to write in during the conversation and we’ll do our best to answer it!
*Please note that the link to this conversation will not be available on the YouTube channel until just before the conversation starts, so do not worry if you check there earlier and it is not available. Also, should the timing of this conversation not suit you, that’s ok! We’ll be recording every last minute and will send it out to everyone in the coming weeks.
To get you all into the spirit and theme of our upcoming conversation, last week we had the pleasure of a visit from one of our very first EA students, Justine! She’s a Douglas College graduate and is working as a support worker with children with special needs. She said to us that the Arrowsmith Program’s impact on student achievement still amazes her – she couldn’t read before she came to us and now she can read a book in a day! She’s a big advocate for early intervention, so students do not have to struggle their whole lives and experience the emotional trauma and isolation that academic and social learning difficulties can cause. It was wonderful to see you again, Justine, and to witness how you have flourished – even though we feel old!!
Looking forward to ‘seeing’ you all online on Monday May 15th!
Sandra Heusel, Admissions and Marketing Director, for all of us at Eaton Arrowsmith
Have you ever wondered about some of the reasons why it is so hard for students…and grown ups…to pay attention? Thanks to our friends at VancouverMom.ca for sharing our thoughts and the experiences of our students so clearly. Have a read! http://www.vancouvermom.ca/school/paying-attention-school-difficult/
Are you a parent or student interested in learning more about professionals in the Lower Mainland who support students with learning difficulties? Or, are you a professional in the field yourself who would like to network with others and meet potential clients? Join us on March 2nd between 6:30pm and 8:00pm at Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver/Magnussen School for this free Community Resource Fair event! Register here. Contact Sandra Heusel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a professional interested in exhibiting at this event.
Click on the link for a video message.
All of us at Eaton Arrowsmith, Magnussen School and Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre wish you the happiest of holidays! See you in 2017!
- Keydates for this location TBA