April 7, 2023
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Cindy Marques, a Certified Financial Planner in Toronto and Director of Financial Planning at Open Access Ltd, says that, for the average Canadian homeowner, the process of filing taxes can be relatively straightforward. Still, she advises homeowners to make themselves aware of the incentives and deductions offered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
"There are rebates and benefits, paid out to you in cash, and tax credits, which reduce taxes owed, that you can claim,” she says. Utilizing those benefits, so long as you follow the rules and eligibility requirements, can mean more money in your pocket.
For example, the GST/HST New Housing Rebate is available to Canadians who have purchased a new, or substantially renovated, home. “The new housing rebate has increased in 2022, doubling the amount you can claim and receive,” adds Marques.
She also points to the First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit, under which eligible buyers can receive a tax credit of up to $1,500, and the Home Accessibility Tax Credit, which enables Canadians to claim expenses from accessibility-related renovations made for the sake of a qualifying individual, including seniors and individuals eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. Additionally, new this year is the Multi-Generational Home Renovation Tax Credit, which is designed to help homeowners with expenses related to constructing a secondary unit on their property.
Canadians who work from home also have the opportunity to claim certain home office expenses -- but Marques cautions those wishing to utilize the benefit to be exact when making such claims.
“Don’t guess at the values. If the CRA audits you and you cannot produce proof of expenses with receipts, they will deny the expenses and you’ll be left having to pay back the difference in taxes owed,” she says, adding that home office expenses tend to be poorly measured and thus more likely to be contested by the CRA.
“This is not a fully exhaustive list of benefits available, but some of the most common ones to keep an eye out for,” Marques continues, pointing to the federal benefits finder tool as a way for homeowners to suss out what else they may be eligible for.
A host of provincial benefits exist for homeowners as well, she adds, which can be explored online. “Essentially, a quick Google search with “(name of your province)” + “benefits and credits” will take you to the appropriate provincial government webpage with the resources you need, explained."
As long as you’re willing to do your research, it's well within reason for homeowners to file their own taxes.
“For the most part, if you didn’t sell a property in the tax year, which can complicate your return, nearly all of the credits and benefits I’ve mentioned are typically prompted by online tax filing software,” says Marques. “Though some require separate applications which are not filed on your income tax return, such as the new housing rebate.”