- However, without filing a return, other credits and benefits that they may be eligible for will not get triggered. As an example, in order to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) – GST/HST credits and Ontairo Sales Tax credits, a return needs to be filed.
- Medical expenses can increase with age and a disability. All Canadians are entitled to deduct medical expenses that exceed 3% of their net income but spouses can add their medical expenses together in order to get a larger credit. The list of eligible medical expenses has expanded slowly over the years so it’s worth checking to make sure you’re deducting everything possible. Some are obvious and some are more obscure.
- Splitting up to 50% of eligible pension income with a spouse can mean a significant tax reduction especially if one spouse earns less income than the other and also because it allows a family to claim two pension income tax credits of $2,000 each.
- You can’t claim the cost of nursing home care AND the disability tax credit but you could instead deduct the attendant care portion of such fees so it’s important to strategize around what makes more sense. It can get complicated.
- Beginning in 2016, this new non-refundable credit allows those eligible for the disability tax credit, a credit of 15% to a maximum of $1,500 on eligible expenses incurred to renovate a home to make it more accessible or to improve mobility. That works out to a claim for up to $10,000 in home improvement expenses. Individuals must be over 65 years of age or eligible for the disability tax credit. Expenses would include such things as wheelchair ramps, walk in bathtubs, widening of doors, non slip flooring, hands-free taps, motion sensored lights etc.
- These federal tax credits may also be transferred to a spouse if one of the spouses cannot use all of their credits. Other credits that can be transferred include the Disability amount and Tuition expenses.
- For those who are 64 or older, a resident of Ontario and paying property taxes, a property tax grant of up to $500 is possible based on income.
If you need help filing your return and have a very modest income and a simple tax situation then you may be eligible to have your tax filings prepared by a volunteer tax clinic in the area. You can find one by checking the CRA website or by calling 1-800-959-8281 or checking with a local community help service; they should be able to direct you to one. New this year, 950,000 Canadians will be invited to file their taxes over the phone with a new program "File My Return". This new service will invite eligible individuals with simple tax situations file their returns by answering a few questions over the phone through an automated service. This is good news most particularly for those who are eligible for federal support programs who are not receiving them because they don't file a return.
Also of note is the fact that Canada Revenue Agency will mail 2017 income tax returns and benefit guides to all those who paper filed previously. I welcome this Age Friendly move as previously, those individuals had to try their luck at finding a post office with a supply of returns available; often to find there were none available. It helps to make complaints !