If you have incurred expenses to modify your home to accommodate the changing needs of a senior or a disabled family member, you may qualify for the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) in your federal tax return. The credit has a similar provincial version called The Home Renovation Tax Credit in British Columbia and New Brunswick. The provincial credit has been eliminated in all other provinces. The criteria for eligibility are virtually the same in each province.
To claim the home renovation tax credit, you must be a resident of British Columbia or New Brunswick.
Additionally, to claim these credits in New Brunswick, you must be age 65 or older, or you must live with or be prepared to live with a family member in that age group. In British Columbia, you qualify if you or another qualifying person in your home is 65 years old, or if you or the qualifying person is disabled and is eligible to claim the disability tax credit. You must have incurred eligible home renovation expenses.
A qualifying member maybe you, your spouse/common-law partner, your or your spouse/common-law partner’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, child, stepchild, grandchild, niece, or nephew.
If you are claiming the expenses for someone other than yourself, or your spouse/common-law partner, you have to be eligible to claim the amount of an eligible dependant, caregiver amount, or the amount for infirmed dependants age 18 or older for the same person.
Similar to the HATC, the eligible expenses include money spent on improvements to your home that make it more accessible or less dangerous to the senior or disabled person who resides there.
Common eligible expenses include walk-in bathtubs, grab bars, and non-slip bathroom flooring. They also include renovations to permit living exclusively on the first floor, widening of doorways, and other wheelchair or mobility-related accommodations. You may also include expenses related to replacing the drawer pulls, handles, light switches, and other elements to help a senior with limited dexterity.
To qualify for any of these credits, the expenses must be incurred for improvements that are of an enduring nature, and they must, as indicated above, make the home more accessible.
Based on those guidelines, general maintenance expenses such as plumbing or heating repairs do not qualify. Similarly, you cannot claim either of these credit for expenses related to redecorating or replacing insulation.
Additionally, you may not use these credits for devices including home security systems or medical devices, such as wheelchairs. If you have expenses for medical devices, you may be able to claim them toward the Canada Revenue Agency’s medical tax credit.
You may only claim up to $10,000 including taxes for either of these home renovation credits. If you want to split the credit with your spouse or common-law partner, you may not claim more than a total of $10,000. If your expenses were less than $10,000, the combined amount you claim should not exceed your actual expenses.
If you shared the expenses with people who live with you who is not your spouse or common-law partner, all of you may split the expenses, but you still must take care not to claim more than the lesser of $10,000 or the amount spent.
Home Renovation Credits on Final Returns
If you are filing a final return on behalf of a deceased person, the deceased person must have turned 65 by the last day of the tax year if he had not died, or he must have been living with or preparing to live with someone who was in that age group by the end of the tax year.
If you filed bankruptcy, you can still claim this credit. You have to complete both pre- and post-bankruptcy returns, and you should claim these expenses based on when they were incurred. For example; if you incurred them prior to your bankruptcy, claim them on your pre-bankruptcy return.
If some of your expenses were incurred before and some after your bankruptcy, you can claim some of them on each return. Again, however, the total claimed must not exceed the lesser of $10,000 or the amount spent.
Claiming the Credit
If you want to claim the British Columbia seniors’ and disabled persons’ home renovation credit, you must complete Schedule BC(S12). Transfer the number from line 5 of Schedule BC(S12) to box 6048 of Form BC479. Multiply that figure by 10 percent, and enter the result on line 14 of form BC479.
If you are filing a paper return, attach Schedule BC(S12) to your return, and keep your receipts for your records. If filing electronically, keep both the schedule and the receipts for your records.
Claim the seniors’ home renovation tax credit in New Brunswick by completing form NBS12. The amount from line 7 is transferred to line 47900 of your provincial return.
If you received any government assistance or grants to help you complete the renovations, subtract that amount from your expenses.
Quebec Independent Living Tax Credit
Quebec residents can claim a similar credit to the home renovation tax credit called the Independent Living Tax Credit for seniors turn 70 or older by the end of the fiscal year (December 31st). This credit is meant to assist in reducing the expenses related to home support and/or reduce the cost of rent in residence. For more information, review the eligibility details. Visit this TurboTax Link for more information about Quebec Senior credits.
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