NS couple seek more clarity on fertility and surrogacy tax credit
After paying about $18,000 for fertility treatment, Kristie and Marcellinus Gillis are eager to claim the now-available tax credit for the Nova Scotia procedure.
But they say it wasn’t clear enough how to actually do it.
“There was a lot of confusion as to what the process is,” said 33-year-old Kristie Gillis.
She and her 34-year-old husband, who live in Dartmouth, turned to in vitro fertilization about a year ago after suffering multiple pregnancy losses.
They are thankful that Nova Scotia’s program, announced last March, provides a recoverable tax credit equal to 40 percent of those medical expenses.
Proactive communication wanted
However, the couple had a difficult time figuring out the application process and the overlap with federal income tax.
Gillis has contacted the provincial health department to ask for help.
She was impressed by the speed of her responses, but wonders why detailed information was not provided well before tax time.
The Treasury Department clarifies on its website that the province’s fertility and surrogacy tax credit is not part of the income tax forms administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The program is said to be administered by the province as it is the most cost-effective way of lending.
However, further information on the application process is still pending.
“In an already very stressful and delicate situation, seeking advice and more information adds to the stress, so a little more proactive communication would have been great,” said Gillis.
She has posted to an online support group of people in the same situation. She says many have the same questions.
The group is run by the national charity Fertility Matters, based in New Brunswick.
The organization campaigns for fairer fertility care in Canada. It confirmed it’s been heard from a number of people with similar concerns.
“We’re feeling the crisis now because it’s tax time,” said Carolynn Dubé, the chief executive, who has three sons conceived through in vitro fertilization.
Dubé estimates that several hundred people in Nova Scotia will be eligible for the provincial tax credit. She said people were concerned about the details given the costs associated with fertility treatment.
“Patients paid for these very expensive medical treatments upfront and out of their own pockets,” she said. “They can get up to $8,000 back, and that’s significant if they have personal lines of credit that they used to pay for these things.”
The province expects an announcement soon
Fertility Matters has posted links to five Canadian provinces that offer financial assistance for fertility treatment, but is awaiting details before adding one from Nova Scotia.
In a statement, the province said it understands the “excitement surrounding the new Fertility and Surrogacy Tax Credit.”
It expects the program to open soon and will make an announcement when applications are available.
In the meantime, anyone planning to claim the tax credit should file their taxes with the CRA to receive their tax assessment.
The province said anyone with questions about the tax credit can email [email protected] for information.
Kristie Gillis has already filed her income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency. She was able to claim some medical expenses related to her fertility treatment.
She’s keen to claim the provincial tax credit now, which she estimates at $7,200.
“Even though it was stressful, at the end of the day I’m still very grateful for what’s on offer,” she said.
During fertility treatment, additional medical issues were identified that she was unaware of and required surgery.
After that, she was able to conceive naturally last November and is now expecting a baby this summer.
“I know I wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t come through the whole journey. While IVF wasn’t necessarily the answer for me and my partner, it did lead to where we are today.”
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