Taking advantage of tax credit
With the right strategies it might be possible to reduce your tax bite to a tax nibble. Start by taking advantage of every tax credit available to you.
• Basic personal tax credit – raised to $10,527.
• Spouse/equivalent to spouse and/or eligible dependent credit – for an eligible partner and/or dependent with a net income of less than $10,527.
• Caregiver credit – up to $4,282 for care of an infirm or elderly relative in your home.
•Disability credit – transfer unused portion to a supporting relative.
• Medical expenses credit – generate the largest credit by combining expenses on the return of a lower earning spouse and/or by choosing the most advantageous 12-month period for unclaimed expenses ending in the current taxation year. Personal health insurance plan premiums including those for travel insurance may also be eligible. Check the extensive list of eligible expenses at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.
• Charitable donation credit – maximize by combining donations on one tax return or carrying forward to achieve higher tax rate for contributions over $200. Claim previously unclaimed donations for a five-year period.
Boomers and older
• Age credit – for those over 65 with a net income below $76,541. Transfer unused portion to supporting spouse.
• Pension income credit – claim up to $2,000. Transfer unused portion to eligible spouse.
• Pension income splitting – may be advantageous to allocate half of your qualifying pension to a lower-earning spouse.
• Children’s art tax credit – up to $500 per child against eligible fees for arts programs.
• Children’s fitness credit – up to $500 per child against eligible fees for a physical activity program.
• Credit for children born in 1994 or later -- $2,131 per child.
• Childcare – claim babysitting/other childcare expenses that allow you or your spouse to work or take a training course. Must be claimed by lower-earning spouse.
• Adoption expenses – claim up to $11,128 for an adoption finalized in 2011. Credit can be split between adoptive parents.
• Claim eligible tuition fees, education and textbook costs, and interest on student loans – the supporting parent, spouse or grandparent of a student may be able to claim all or a portion of the tuition, education and textbook amounts when transferred to you to a maximum of $5,000.
• Company pension plan contribution for 2011 – deductible within limits.
• Public transit credit – claim the costs of monthly passes/electronic payment cards.
• First-time home buyers’ credit – $750 for certain homebuyers who acquired a qualifying home after January 27, 2009.
Now that you’ve checked out this tax credit check list, check with your professional advisor for other strategies that could further reduce your tax bite.
This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc., and Investors Group Securities Inc. presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances.
Call David Brown at 250-315-0241 to book your appointment.