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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2001/154 (Withdrawn)

Income Tax
Medical expenses tax offset

Attention This ATO ID is withdrawn. Guidance on the Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset can be found at Medical expenses on the ATO website (QC 31918).
Attention This document has changed over time. View its history.
FOI status: may be released
Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 11 August 2017.

CautionCAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


Issue

Are a freestanding overbed frame, mobile shower commode and dual valve high profile cushion medical or surgical appliances for the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936)?

Decision

Yes. A freestanding overbed frame, mobile shower commode and dual valve high profile cushion are medical or surgical appliances for the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936.

Facts

The taxpayer suffers from very poor circulation and limited movement, which are symptoms of a serious medical condition. The taxpayer is hospitalised as a result of complications associated with the medical condition, and during the period of hospitalisation, the taxpayer experiences severe bed sores.

Whilst in hospital the taxpayer uses a number of devices that assist with the taxpayer's mobility. Upon the taxpayer's release from hospital, the medical practitioner responsible for the taxpayer's treatment recommends that the taxpayer acquire these items for use at home. Accordingly, the taxpayer acquires these items from rehabilitation specialist distributors.

The first item is an overbed frame that provides a structure over the taxpayer's bed to assist the taxpayer to get in and out of bed. The freestanding overbed frame also helps stabilise the taxpayer in bed, so the taxpayer can perform simple functions when in bed.

The second item is a mobile shower commode. The mobile shower commode is used by the taxpayer for stability in and access to the shower.

The third item is a dual valve high profile cushion, which is fitted to the taxpayer's wheelchair. The cushion prevents sores forming by alleviating pressure against the taxpayer's skin and by stimulating circulation. The cushion also gives the taxpayer mobility as the taxpayer's skin is so sensitive, the taxpayer would not be able to use the wheelchair without the cushion.

Reasons For Decision

Subsection 159P(1) of the ITAA 1936 states, inter alia , that an amount paid by a taxpayer in the year of income as medical expenses less any amount paid to the taxpayer in respect of those medical expenses shall be treated as a rebatable amount in respect of that year of income. Paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936 includes payments made in respect of a medical or surgical appliance prescribed by a legally qualified medical practitioner.

Taxation Ruling TR 93/34 explains the meaning of a 'medical or surgical appliance' for the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936 as an instrument, apparatus or device which is manufactured as, distributed as or generally recognised to be an aid to the function or capacity of a person with a disability or an illness.

Paragraph 4 of TR 93/34 states that an appliance is an aid to function or capacity if it helps the person with the disability or illness perform the activities of daily living. The question of whether the appliance is an aid to function or capacity looks at the character of the appliance and not the purpose for which the appliance is prescribed or used.

The freestanding overbed frame and mobile shower commode are both devices that are used by the hospital with a view to preventing illness and facilitating rehabilitation by providing stability and assistance in movement. The items are clearly recognised as aids to the function or capacity of a person with a disability or illness. Accordingly, they qualify as medical or surgical appliances for the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936.

As the taxpayer cannot use the wheelchair without the dual valve high profile cushion, the cushion is necessary for the taxpayer to benefit from the mobility offered by the wheelchair. It is recognised to be an aid to function and capacity of a person with a disability or an illness where that person would not be able to use the wheelchair without the cushion. As such, the dual valve high profile cushion would also qualify as a medical or surgical appliance for the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936.

Amendment History

Date of amendment Part Comment
22 November 2013 Issue, Decision, Reasons for Decision Amended for clarity.
  Related ATO Interpretative Decisions Amended to remove reference to withdrawn ATO ID.
  Legislative References Removed reference.
  Keywords Update.

Date of decision: 27 March 2001

Legislative References:
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
   section 159P
   subsection 159P(1)

Case References:
FC of T v. Ildes
   88 ATC 4214
   (1988) 19 ATR 952

Related Public Rulings (including Determinations)
TR 93/34

Related ATO Interpretative Decisions
ATO ID 2001/155

Keywords
rebates and offsets
Deductions & expenses
Medical expenses
Medical expenses rebates
Medical & surgical appliances

Siebel/TDMS Reference Number: CRS40181(1);1-8E818MO

Business Line: Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication: 1 August 2001

ISSN: 1445-2782

ATO ID 2001/154 (Withdrawn) history   Top  
   Date   Version 
   27 March 2001   Original statement   
   22 November 2013   Updated statement   
 You are here ®  11 August 2017   Withdrawn   


 


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