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Medical scheme fees tax credit

Section 6A of the Income Tax Act provides for a medical scheme fees tax credit (“MTC”), or rebate, which reduces the amount of income tax payable by a natural person (hereinafter referred to as the “taxpayer”). The MTC applies to the fees paid by the taxpayer to a registered medical scheme for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of his or her dependents.

The MTC is a fixed monthly amount which increases based on the number of dependents. For the 2017/2018 year of assessment (1 March 2017 to 28 February 2018), the credit is R303 for the taxpayer, a further R303 for the first dependent and R204 for each of the taxpayer’s additional dependents.

A “dependent” in relation to a taxpayer for purposes of section 6A is defined in the Medical Schemes Act. With reference to the member of the medical scheme (here the taxpayer), it includes the spouse or partner of the taxpayer, any dependent children or other members of the taxpayer’s immediate family in respect of whom the taxpayer is liable for family care and support as well as any other person who, under the rules of the relevant medical scheme is recognised as a dependent of the taxpayer.

Contributions paid by the employer of a taxpayer are also deemed to have been paid by that taxpayer to the extent that the amount has been included in the income of that person as a taxable benefit. Contributions by an employer made after an employee has retired carries no fringe benefit value. The converse is also true: where an employer pays an ex-employee’s total contributions to a medical scheme, the benefit will have no value for tax purposes and the ex-employee will not be entitled to claim the MTC for the months after retirement. Should the ex-employee, however, pay any portion of the contributions to the medical scheme during the months after retirement, he or she will be able to claim the MTC for those months. This is due thereto that in order to claim the MTC, it is merely required that fees are paid by the taxpayer. Any contribution paid by the taxpayer should therefore give rise to the MTC.

In summary, any fees paid by the taxpayer him- or herself (whether the full contribution or not), the estate or employer (provided that the amount is taken into account as a taxable benefit) are taken into account for the purposes of MTC as contributions paid by the taxpayer.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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