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Investment Tip of the Day

Private Health Services Plan (PHSP)

PHSPAll businesses like to save money and provide the most benefits to its employees without breaking the bank in the process. One of those perks of owning a business is being eligible to make use of what is called a PHSP. A Private Health Services Plan is a tax benefit by the government of Canada giving small businesses a way to claim health expenses as business expenses for its employees. These tax reliefs, when passed to employees, make medical expenses tax-free at a significantly larger level than many other avenues.

Normally people like to claim medical expenses on their personal tax return forms each year, however, because of a pre-set threshold that must be crossed (currently $2,000) and that only the amount above this threshold is eligible for tax credits, there is the less attractive idea that the remaining amount is taxed at the lowest marginal tax rate for that year. In other words, the savings you get from the standard personal medical expense claim is not that much.

By being an owner of a small business and having a PHSP established one can deduct health expenses without expensive and complicated health insurance plans. PHSP coverage applies to employees, their spouses, and any other member of a household.

Although it is very easy to mistakenly think that a PHSP is a form of health insurance it is very different. A PHSP is a tax method that makes health expenses into business expenses while health insurance is burdened by monthly premiums charged to all plan holders so as to distribute risk even when you don’t make a claim. Health insurance can also have different levels of coverage that is linked to expense. — the more coverage and the higher the risk tends to be more expensive to the claimant.

PHSP and health insurance can be combined but most people and businesses choose to rely on health plans for catastrophic events and PHSP for routine coverage.

Sole Proprietorships and partnerships have set limits that can be claimed per year. For the owner, his/her spouse, and member of the family it is $1,500/year per person. Household members under the age of 18 have a claim limit of $750 each. Incorporated businesses do not have any yearly limits.

PHSP covers all of the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of eligible health services which include dental, chiropractor, and many others. It is the same services as what is made available for the medical expense tax credit for personal income taxes.

PHSPs have no monthly premiums; you only pay a nominal fee when you file your claim. In other words, a PHSP is a pay-as-you-go service.

There is no reason why any business (corporations, sole proprietorships, and partnerships) shouldn’t have a PHSP. They are inexpensive and provide full health coverage to all employees with the key benefit of being 100% tax deductible.