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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2001/185 (Withdrawn)

Income Tax
Medical expenses tax offset - maintenance of wheelchairs

Attention This ATO ID is withdrawn.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Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 11 August 2017.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you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed.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.


Does expenditure on wheelchair maintenance qualify as a medical expense as defined in subsection 159P(4) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936)?


Yes, the cost of maintaining a wheelchair, including the replacement of parts, is a medical expense as defined in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936.

Reasons For Decision

Section 159P of the ITAA 1936 provides for a rebate (medical expenses tax offset) to a taxpayer whose net medical expenses in the year of income exceed the threshold dollar amount specified in the section. The amount of the tax offset is equal to 20% of the expenses that exceed the threshold.

Paragraph (f) of the definition of medical expenses in subsection 159P(4) of the ITAA 1936 includes in the definition of medical expense, payments ' in respect of a medical or surgical appliance (not otherwise specified in this definition) prescribed by a legally qualified medical practitioner' (emphasis added).

Taxation Ruling TR 93/34 Income tax: medical expense rebate - meaning of medical or surgical appliance includes wheelchairs as an example of a medical or surgical appliance for the purposes of the medical expenses tax offset.

In Case F25 74 ATC 130; (1974) 19 CTBR (NS) 288 Case 43 , the Board of Review stated that the phrase '"payments in respect of" is wide enough to cover maintenance or repair as well as its original cost'. When applied to wheelchairs, this encompasses maintenance and replacement of parts; for example, batteries, electronic and motorised parts.

Amendment History

Date of amendment Part Comment
29 November 2013 Decision, Facts, Reasons for Decision, Legislative references, Keywords Amended for clarity, to reconcile current terminology of tax offset with the legislative wording of section 159P of the ITAA 1936 and to follow the ATO Standards for citations and references and ATOI D guidelines.

Date of decision: 20 July 2001

Legislative References:
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
   section 159P
   subsection 159P(4)

Case References:
Case F25/Case 43
   74 ATC 130
   (1974) 19 CTBR (NS) 288

Related Public Rulings (including Determinations)
TR 93/34

Rebates and offsets
Deductions & expenses
Medical expenses
Medical expenses rebates

Siebel/TDMS Reference Number: 1445-2782;1-8E8Q22J

Business Line: Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication: 10 August 2001

ISSN: 1445-2782

ATO ID 2001/185 (Withdrawn) history   Top  
   Date   Version 
   20 July 2001   Original statement   
   29 November 2013   Updated statement   
 You are here ®  11 August 2017   Withdrawn   


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