With tax season upon us, clients will be looking to use every available tax credit to cut down what they owe CRA. Here are some filing tips from H&R Block to keep in mind this April.
Family Tax Cut is still available
The Family Tax Cut is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 meant to help families with children under the age of 18 living at home. The way this works is that one spouse claims a credit for the taxes they would have saved if they had split their income off to the other spouse’s return. Introduced in October 2014, this could be the final year to claim this credit. So, even if filers didn’t qualify for it last year, they’re still encouraged to look into whether they’ll qualify this year.
Amount you can claim for child care has increased
In 2015, parents will be able to claim more of their child care expenses – limits have increased by $1,000. Child care expenses are claimed as a deduction from income to decrease the amount of taxable income for parents.
Children’s Fitness Tax Credit (CFTC) now refundable
The CFTC helps families with the cost of children’s fitness activities by allowing them to claim the related expenses on their tax filing, up to a maximum amount of $1,000. New for the 2015 tax filing year, it is now a refundable tax credit, meaning families will get some of those expenses back whether they owe tax or not.
Amount for children disappears from Schedule 1 form
This used to be a non-refundable tax credit but, as of the 2015 tax filing year, it will no longer appear on the Schedule 1 form. This means that it is no longer a credit that can be claimed on a person’s income tax return and many families may be surprised to see this. The exception is a credit left for the family caregiver for impaired children.
Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was enhanced
The UCCB is a taxable benefit that provides direct financial support to Canadian families with young children. In 2015, there were a couple changes to the UCCB that put more money into the pockets of these families. A new payment for children aged six to 17 was introduced, and the payments for children under six years old was increased. Families who receive these benefits will need to claim them as income and account for these enhancements.
Automatic enrollment for OAS and GIS benefits
By 2016, all eligible seniors will be automatically enrolled for OAS and GIS and notified by mail. This replaces the old system where seniors had to apply for those benefits. Seniors need to know that if they do nothing, the automatic enrollment goes ahead. But if they wish to defer these payments, they must let Service Canada know. These payments are part of seniors’ tax filing, so it’s important they understand the process.
First-Time Donor’s Super Credit can be claimed until 2017
The First-Time Donor’s Super Credit is meant to encourage donations by people who have not donated to charity before, or who had fallen out of the habit. You can claim an additional temporary supplement, in addition to the non-refundable tax credit for individual charitable donations. If you are saving up your receipts, the temporary credit can be claimed until 2017, but will be unavailable after that.