Have you filed your 2013 tax return yet? For those of you who are still putting your information together (that would be most of us!),here's a reminder ofsome tax credits that are available to you and your family...
Tax credits to claim now
Public Transit Amount
If you purchased a transit pass for a bus, street car, subway, commuter train, commuter bus or a local ferry in 2013 you may be able to claim it under the Public Transit Amount on your tax return. One key eligibility criteria is that you were entitled to unlimited travel when you were using the pass. You can find all of the details about the Public Transit Amount on the CRA website.
Children’s Fitness Amount
Did your son take swimming lessons after school last year? Did your daughter go to ballet class on the weekend? If your child is under 16, or under 18 with a disability, you can claim up to a maximum of $500 per child under the Children’s Fitness amount. If your child has a disability, you are entitled to an even higher tax credit. To find out about eligibility and what programs are included you can get all of the details here.
Children’s Arts Amount
There is an additional $500 tax credit available for individuals whose children attend a “prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity.” Just like the Children’s Fitness Amount, your child must be under 16 (or under 18 and eligible for the disability credit). You can find more information about the credit here.
First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC)
If you were a first-time home buyer in 2013, you can claim a tax credit of up to $5,000 if you meet all of the criteria. You must have purchased a qualifying home and this must be the first home you have lived in, in the previous five years. If you are a person with a disability, you do not have to be a first-time home buyer. You can learn more about this tax credit here.
You can claim medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, common-law partner and your dependent children aged 17 or younger. Medical expenses that can be claimed on your tax return include, but are not limited to: prescription medications, dental services, psychologists, physiotherapists, attendant care, and a portion of assisted living home costs. For the 2013 tax year, you can claim any medical expenses over 3% of your net income or $2,152, whichever is less. To maximize the credit you should pool all of the family expenses together and claim them on one tax return. It is usually more beneficial to claim the expenses on the tax return of the lower income spouse. You can claim expenses for any twelve month period that falls in the tax year so if your expenses are too low this year to claim,you should hold on to your receiptsin case they can be used on your 2014 tax return. On the CRA’s website, you can find all of the details about this credit.
In my previous article in October, “The ins and outs of charitable giving”, I wrote about the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit. If you’ve been making donations for many years now you will not be eligible for this tax credit. However, you can still derive a significant benefit from your donations as the combined tax credit for Ontario donors who donate over $200 is 40.16%. Donations from a husband and wife should be added together and claimed on one tax return. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the receipt. Most of the time it makes more sense to claim the credit on the tax return of the individual with the higher tax rate. The donation limit is 75% of net income. However, any donations you don’t use that year can be carried forward for five years on your tax return. If you’re not sure if the charity that you are donating to is legitimate you can look them up on CRA’s website here.You can also get all the information you need about donations and how to claim them on your tax returnhere.
Keep proper documentation
These are just some of the tax credits that you may be able to claim when you file your tax return. If you do claim some or all of them, make sure to have the proper supporting documentation for the Canada Revenue Agency in case they come asking for it.