For 2017 tax filing, here are changes you can share with clients, courtesy of the CRA.
Changed credits and amounts
- Tuition, education and textbook credits. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the federal education and textbook credits were eliminated. However, clients can still carry forward unused amounts from previous years. Also, with certain conditions, they may now be able to claim the tuition amount for fees paid to a post-secondary educational institution for occupational skills courses, even if they’re not at a post-secondary level.
- Children’s credits. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the children’s arts tax credit and children’s fitness tax credit were eliminated.
- Public transit tax credit. As of July 1, 2017, this credit was eliminated. For the 2017 tax year, clients can claim the cost of eligible public transit expenses only for travel taken from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2017.
New and improved credits
- Canada caregiver credit. This non-refundable tax credit replaces three separate credits: the family caregiver credit; the credit for infirm dependants age 18 or older; and the caregiver credit. The new credit gives tax relief to eligible individuals who have a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant, with a physical or mental impairment.
- Disability tax credit (DTC) certification. Nurse practitioners across Canada can now certify the DTC application form.
- Medical expense tax credit. If clients need medical intervention to conceive a child, they may be eligible to claim certain expenses even if they don’t have a medical condition—these expenses are the same as those that would generally be allowable for individuals who have a medical condition. If clients have had fertility-related expenses for any of the 10 previous calendar years and haven’t claimed them, they can request a change to their income tax and benefit returns to include these eligible expenses.
- Mailing a paper income tax and benefit return to homes. Starting this year, the CRA will mail a 2017 income tax and benefits guide and forms book to paper filers. For those who want to file on paper and haven’t received a guide and forms book by Feb. 26, 2018, they can find what they need online or order a paper copy.
- Phone filing with File my return. This automated service lets eligible Canadians with simple tax situations file their return by answering a few questions.
- Viewing transactions and paying balances with CRA BizApp. This app lets small businesses and sole proprietors view their business account balances and make payments by pre-authorized debit to their corporations, goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST), payroll, and excise duty accounts.