With literally hundreds of tax credits and tax deductions available to eligible Canadian taxpayers, it can be easy to overlook one or two.
Here are our top 6 most often missed tax credits and tax deductions.
1. Medical expenses
Medical expenses can add up quickly in the run of a year. Everything from routine dental visits to prescriptions to doctors’ fees could earn you a credit at tax time. It’s not that Canadians miss claiming medical expenses altogether, but there are many missed expenses, and some more often missed than others;
- To get the most out of your claim, it’s usually best to have one spouse claim all the medical expenses for the immediate family (you, your spouse, and kids under 18).
- If you support a dependant, such as an elderly parent, don’t forget to claim those expenses too. These medical expenses are not claimed with yours, your spouse’s and minor kids. The medical expense credit for other dependants is claimed separately.
- If you’ve had to travel more than 40 km one way to seek medical care, you may be able to claim medical travel expenses for the trip. For longer trips (over 80 km) meals and accommodations may also be claimed.
- Don’t forget about any private insurance premiums you pay throughout the year. Those costs may be eligible medical expenses too.
2. Union/Professional Dues and Licensing Examination Fees
Most union dues are deducted directly from your paycheck and appear on your T4 (box 44). If you’ve paid any other amounts to a union or professional organization, be sure to keep the receipts for tax time. If you pay insurance premiums related to your profession, keep track of the cost. Doctors, for example, can claim the cost of malpractice insurance.
If you’re required to pass a certification or licensing exam for your profession, that cost may qualify as a tuition expense. Nurses, for example, may claim the cost of yearly licensing fees on schedule 11 as a tuition amount. If you are reimbursed from your employer for these fees, they are not eligible expenses.
3. Moving Expenses
If you’ve relocated for work, you may be eligible to claim a wide range of moving expenses for you and your family. Some conditions apply but, generally, if you move to a home that’s at least 40 km closer to your new place of employment, you can claim associated moving costs. Commonly overlooked moving expenses are
- Travel expenses for your family including vehicle expenses, accommodations, and meals.
- Fees for changing your address on documents or identification such as your driver’s license, vehicle registration, or other legal documents.
- The cost of utility hookups and disconnections.
- The expense of title transfer for your new home.
If you move late in the year, a portion of your moving expenses may have to wait to be claimed. Moving expense claims are limited to the income you earn at the new job that year. If you move in December, there’s not much time to up your limit. Don’t worry. Any unused moving expenses can be claimed the following year. For example, if your moving expenses totaled $10,000 but you only earned $5,000 this year at the new job, you’re limited to a $5,000 claim this year. The leftover $5,000 will be carried forward to next year.
4. Student Loan Interest
Interest paid on a student loan is an often-overlooked credit. This non-refundable credit applies to interest paid on eligible loans – not all types of loans qualify. For example, if you opened a student line of credit to fund your studies, that interest isn’t deductible. Student loan interest can be carried forward for up to five years. If you don’t need the deduction this year, consider carrying it forward.
5. Childcare Expenses
If you pay for childcare so you can work, attend school, or run your business, you already know that these expenses are tax-deductible. But did you know that other expenses also qualify? Along with the usual fees from daycares or in-home providers, most overnight camps and summer day camps are also eligible for the deduction.
6. Employment Expenses
From home office costs to tradesperson’s tools, if you incur certain expenses related to your job, you may qualify for a deduction at tax time. Be sure to obtain a signed form T2200 (Declaration of Conditions of Employment). This form, which is completed by your employer, outlines exactly what types of expenses you can claim as well as any reimbursements you’ve received.
For additional information; Canada Revenue Agency: Details of medical expenses and Canada Revenue Agency: Moving expenses.
See also this CRA article on Student Loan Interest.
Jennifer is the Social Care Manager for TurboTax Canada. When she’s not helping customers on Facebook, Twitter, and TurboTax’s community forum AnswerXchange, Jennifer is busy researching the latest tax changes.
Jennifer has been preparing tax returns for over 30 years and enjoys holding tax seminars for seniors in her hometown of St. Vincent’s, Newfoundland.