If you have incurred expenses to modify your home to accommodate the changing needs of a senior, you may qualify for a home renovation tax credit. To qualify for this provincial credit, you must live in British Columbia, or New Brunswick. However, the criteria are virtually the same in each province.
To claim the senior home renovation tax credit, you must be a resident of British Columbia or New Brunswick.
Additionally, to claim either of these credits, you must be age 65 or older, or you must live with or be preparing to live with a family member in that age group. Finally, you must have incurred eligible home renovation expenses.
A qualifying family member may be your or your spouse’s or your common-law partner’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, child, stepchild, grandchild, niece or nephew. You may also claim this credit on behalf of your spouse or common-law partner.
Eligible expenses include money spent on improvements to your home that make it more accessible or less dangerous to the senior 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 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 a 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 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 are 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 senior’s 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’ renovation tax credit in New Brunswick by completing form NBS12. The amount from line 7 is transferred to line 479 of your provincial return.
For Ontario seniors, the credit was discontinued in 2016.
If you received any government assistance or grants to help you complete the renovations, subtract that amount from your expenses.