Ontario has introduced the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, a permanent, refundable personal income tax refund for seniors.
The province last fall introduced the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, a permanent, refundable personal income tax refund for seniors and the family members who live with them.
Those who qualify can claim up to $10,000 worth of home modifications on their tax returns and receive back 15 per cent of eligible expenses. A household that spends $10,000 on eligible home renovations potentially can get back $1,500. The tax credit has a $10,000 maximum per couple.
Qualified applicants must be 65 years or older by the end of the year for which he/she is claiming the credit. Family members can qualify, too. If you modify your home to accommodate a live-in relative who is 65 or older, you can claim eligible expenses on your personal income tax return.
Seniors and their family members at all income levels are eligible.
Expenses that don’t qualify include renovations or recurring repairs such as plumbing or electrical work, repairs to a roof, the installation of new windows, or a new heating and air conditioning system. Also not included are devices such as equipment for home medical or home safety monitoring, wheelchairs, walkers, side-swing ovens and appliances with front-loaded controls, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Ditto for services like landscaping, housekeeping and home care.
However, there are other programs that help those with disabilities remain in their homes, including the Assistive Devices Program, which provides funding to people with long-term disabilities living independently, and offers access to more than 8,000 assistive devices, like prostheses, wheelchairs/mobility aids, hearing aids and respiratory equipment.
The full list of expenses that are eligible for the Healthy Homes tax credit can be found at ontario.ca/healthyhomes. There’s also an online calculator to help applicants determine how much money they could get back.
To get the credit, individuals must claim their total expenses on their personal income tax returns.
For the 2012 tax year, applicants can claim expenses for work that was paid for or billed for between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2012. For subsequent tax years, individuals can claim expenses related to work that was paid for or billed for in that particular year.
Even if homeowners do the work themselves, or they have a friend or family member do the renovations free of charge, they can still claim the amount spent on materials for the modifications, but not the cost of labour.
The province recommends that applicants save all receipts from retailers, suppliers and contractors related to these home modifications. While it’s not necessary to submit them with the tax return, it’s important that applicants have them on hand if they’re asked by the Canada Revenue Agency to produce them to verify expenses.
For more information call 1-866-668-8297 or go to ontario.ca/healthyhomes.