Common tax benefits and credits for seniors

By Staff | February 14, 2018 | Last updated on September 15, 2023
3 min read

As tax season approaches, CRA is reminding seniors to make the most of the benefits and credits for which they’re eligible.

Read: Essential tax numbers: updated for 2018

Here are some of the most common things seniors could claim on their tax returns:

  • Pension income splitting. Pensioners might be eligible to split up to 50% of eligible pension income with a spouse or common-law partner, if the spouse or common-law partner is in a lower tax bracket.

Read: Pension splitting: special rules and planning opportunities

  • RRSP deduction. Deductible contributions to an RRSP can reduce tax owing. Taxpayers have until Dec. 31 of the year in which they turn 71 to contribute to their plans.
  • Medical expenses. You might be able to claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid in any 12-month period ending in 2017. This period is extended to 24 months in case of death.
  • Age amount. Those 65 years of age or older on Dec. 31, 2017, and with net income less than $84,597, might be able to claim up to $7,225.
  • Disability tax credit. If you, your spouse or common-law partner, or your dependant have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, you might be eligible for the disability tax credit. To apply, you must have Form T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate filled out and certified by a medical practitioner. Once CRA approves the form, you can claim the disability amount on your return.

Read: How DTC eligibility loss affects RDSPs

  • Canada caregiver credit. This credit replaces the family caregiver credit, the credit for infirm dependants age 18 or older, and the caregiver credit. If you have a spouse or common-law partner or a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you might be eligible to claim this non-refundable credit.
  • Pension income amount. Claim up to $2,000 if you reported eligible pension, superannuation or annuity payments on your return.

File to get access

Filing a tax return is the easiest way to access credit and benefit payments that may assist seniors, such as:

  • Guaranteed income supplement. If you live on a low income and receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the Old Age Security Program, you must file your taxes by April 30 to make sure your benefits get renewed.

Read: Automatic OAS enrolment to include GIS consideration

  • Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit. You might be eligible for tax-free quarterly payments that help individuals and families with low and modest income offset all or part of the GST or HST they pay. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of you can receive the credit. When you file your taxes, CRA automatically determines your eligibility.
  • Registered disability savings plan. This plan helps Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit. Contributions to such a plan aren’t tax deductible, but you can make them until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59.

Find more information about seniors programs and services from CRA.

Also read:

What’s new or changed for 2017 tax-filing season staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.