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Is there a deduction for medical expenses incurred for gastric bypass surgery?

17 April 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: Does SARS allows a tax deduction for gastric bypass surgery? The medical aid scheme did not pay for the operation and does not show it on the tax certificate.

A: It is not clear from the facts if the question relates to the 2015 year of assessment or an earlier year.  As you refer to a deduction we assumed it relates to an earlier year of assessment.  (The deduction has been replaced by the section 6B rebate). 

We accept that gastric bypass surgery refers to the surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both.  We can’t comment on that. 

Section 18 of the Income Tax Act defined what is commonly referred to as ‘qualifying expenditure’.  The relevant part (section 18(1)(b)) reads as follows:

"...any amounts (other than amounts recoverable by the taxpayer or his or her spouse) which were paid by the taxpayer during the year of assessment to any duly registered—

(i) medical practitioner, dentist, optometrist, homeopath, naturopath, osteopath, herbalist, physiotherapist, chiropractor or orthopaedist for professional services rendered or medicines supplied to the taxpayer, his or her spouse or his or her children, or any dependant of the taxpayer; or

(ii) nursing home or hospital or any duly registered or enrolled nurse, midwife or nursing assistant (or to any nursing agency in respect of the services of such a nurse, midwife or nursing assistant) in respect of the illness or confinement of the taxpayer, his or her spouse or his or her children, or any dependant of the taxpayer; or

(iii) pharmacist for medicines supplied on the prescription of any person mentioned in subparagraph (i) for the taxpayer, his or her spouse or his or her children, or any dependant of the taxpayer;” 

We don’t know what the expenses of the operation include, but believe it would in the main fall within the above and would then be qualifying expenses. 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this query and answer should be construed as constituting tax advice or a tax opinion. An expert should be consulted for advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case. Even though great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the answer, SAIT do not accept any responsibility for consequences of decisions taken based on this query and answer. It remains your own responsibility to consult the relevant primary resources when taking a decision.


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