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There are two sure things in life…

November 30, 2011

But thankfully I’m only posting about the one. Let’s talk taxes!

“But Ariel!” You cry, “Tax season isn’t until March! Quit worsening my ulcers!”

Fear not, my fuzzy friends: I’m actually telling you this in advance, so that once tax season rolls around, you’ll have all your ducks in a row and can proceed in a sedate waddle, without too many feathers flying. Are you ready for this?

Tax refunds on groceries. Glorious, isn’t it? The Canadian government has graciously acquiesced to giving those with proven gluten intolerance or celiac disease – but only with a lot of legwork on your part, so this is why I’m warning you well before tax season. If you check out the Canada Revenue Agency’s page about it, they provide a helpful rundown of what exactly you need – and what exactly you need to do – in order to qualify for the refund. Basically, you need three things:

1) A letter from your doctor saying that you have celiac disease and thus can’t eat products containing gluten*.
2) A summary of every single item of gluten-free food you’ve bought in the past year (they’ve got a sample chart at their site).
3) Alla dem receipts. So start saving.

I starred that first one because there are some of us poor suckers who can’t eat gluten but aren’t technically celiac or *cough*don’t know*cough*, and it states explicitly on the site that the note must label you as a bona fide celiac. My trials and tribulations with doctors can be excluded from this post; to keep it short and sweet, I’ve never been tested, and have never been given the option by doctors to be tested. In my case, I can probably talk to my family doctor (who acknowledges my anti-glutenous lifestyle) and ask for a letter stating exactly what the tax man wants to see, but for those of you who are left in the lurch, I’d suggest talking to your doctor about your options.

(Note: If your doctor doesn’t help you out or tell you what you need to hear, time to find a new doctor. Abuse walk-in clinics with impunity! It is your right as a Canadian citizen!)

Buying gluten-free might not have to break the bank after all, if you’re good at filing and can afford to wait a bit. You can find more info about how The Canadian Celiac Association has been lobbying for this sort of thing here. Americans get coverage, but it slightly fuzzier and non-celiac-specific: you can research more about the dread IRS at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Over in Europe, I hear the sitch is way better: did you know that Italian celiacs get a stipend AND days off to go shopping for gluten-free foods? Check out this article at Glutino and be jealous with me! I’ll be doing this tax credit jazz for the very first time once I start filin’ my taxes away, so stay tuned for updates on just how smoothly it goes (or not).

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