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Canada’s Most Embarrassing Tax Questions, Answered

Anyone who works in the tax industry knows that embarrassing questions surface all the time, and they go immediately into the vault with no judgement.
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Taxes can get personal. Really personal. In fact, the more your tax professional knows about your life, the better, as it can often lead to the opportunity to claim a tax credit you didn't even know about.

Worried your complicated relationship status will cause your tax professional to snicker? Or too shy to ask whether your lingerie warrants any tax breaks? Anyone who works in the tax industry knows that embarrassing questions surface all the time, and they go immediately in to the vault with absolutely no judgement.

To help address any burning questions you might be harbouring, we've shared some anonymous questions H&R Block tax professionals have been asked, and the surprising answers.

Q: I suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and was told by my doctor to take Imodium. Can I claim this expense on my taxes?

A: Unfortunately, you can't claim over-the-counter medication, even if it was recommended by a doctor. However, prescription medications can be claimed, so consider speaking to your doctor about options.

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Q: I'm a model, and am encouraged by my agents to get monthly spray tans and bikini waxes. Can I claim this?

A: If your employer requires you to pay for the cost of a spray tan or bikini wax as a condition of your income, then you can claim those expenses. As well, any items required specifically for a photo shoot are tax deductible, such as eyelash extensions. However, you will need to prove this by completing a signed Declaration of Conditions of Employment (T2200) indicating you are required to pay these expenses.

Q: I moved across the country for a job offer, but had to make special travel arrangements for my three pet tarantulas. Can I claim that?

A: You certainly can! Moving expenses incurred by all members of your household, including pets, can be claimed as a result of a job offer, but keep in mind that expenses are deductible only from employment or business income earned at the new job location.

Q: My boyfriend's six-year-old son with his previous girlfriend and that child's half-sister (who is not related to my boyfriend) just moved in to our apartment. Can I claim the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for them even though I'm not related to either child or married? Help!

A: Related or not, if you and your boyfriend now have primary care and responsibility, or shared custody, of the children, you can apply to receive the CCB by completing the Canada Child Benefits Application form (RC66).

More from H&R Block Canada:

  • 5 Changes You Need To Know Before Filing Your Income Tax
  • Here's How To Ring In The New Year With Your Taxes In Order
  • Tax Tips To Help You Ace Your Finances This Year

Q: I work from home and often host clients in my home office. Can I claim my landscaping bills? What about my state-of-the-art espresso maker?

A: If your workspace is your principal place of business, you can claim expenses associated with your home office, including a portion of your landscaping costs. How much you can claim is determined by calculating the size of your home office as a percentage of your home's total size.

For example, if your home office is 30 square metres, and your home is 300 square metres, your office is 10 per cent of your home, and you can deduct 10 per cent of your landscaping costs as well. Unfortunately, you cannot claim an espresso maker, as it doesn't qualify as an office supply.

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