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Do you qualify for the new tax credits for 2020 and 2021?

by Nathan Zachary
Tax Credit

Are you trying to increase your refund or decrease the amount of taxes you owe? Here are 5 new federal and provincial tax credits that you should be aware of, whether you want to claim them on your 2020 tax return or start making plans for 2021:

1. Training Credit for Canada

A new federal tax benefit for students is called the Canada Training Credit. If you paid eligible tuition and other expenses for the courses you completed during the year, this credit will be available to you. The amount of the tuition tax credit you can claim, transfer, or carry-forward is decreased by this credit.

Do I qualify?

If you are a Canadian resident who paid tuition or other fees at an approved post-secondary institution in Canada, you may claim this credit on your 2020 tax return.

What can I recoup?

The least of the following amounts will determine how much you can claim for this credit:

  • your annual maximum for the Canada training credit; or
  • You paid a qualified educational institution half of your qualifying tuition and fees.

For each year you report at least $10,000 in income on your tax return, you receive $250 against your Canada training limit, up to a lifetime credit cap of $10,000. The first $250 is based on the income you declared on your 2019 tax return and can be claimed in 2020.

2. Tax Credit for Subscriptions to Digital News

Do you have to pay to access a newspaper online? The federal tax credit for digital news subscriptions allows you to deduct the cost of your subscriptions between 2020 and 2024.

Is the tax credit available for my subscription?

Your subscription must grant you access to digital information that was initially made available as written news for you to be eligible for this credit. You may use this tax credit, for instance, to pay for a newspaper or magazine’s online edition. Additionally, it must be regarded as an accredited Canadian journalism organization (QCJO).

What can I recoup?

This tax credit is non-refundable, which means it reduces the overall amount of taxes you owe when you file your return. Your credit is calculated by multiplying the amount you paid for your subscriptions by the lowest personal income tax rate, which is 15% in 2020, up to a maximum of $500. For instance, you would be qualified for a $75 tax credit if you paid $500 for your subscriptions to digital news sources.

If your husband or common-law partner wants to apply for this credit as well and you share the subscription contract with them, you will need to divide the amount you want to claim between the two of you. The person with the greater income should claim the entire sum you paid for your memberships on their return to receive a higher tax credit!

3. Recovery Benefit for BC

Families, single parents, and individuals can receive a one-time, tax-free payment called the BC Recovery Benefit. Your eligibility for this benefit is based on your tax circumstances; it is not claimed on your return.

Do I qualify?

You must live in British Columbia, be at least 19 years old, and be a resident to be eligible for the BC Recovery Benefit. You may also apply for this benefit if you are under 19 and a single parent or have a spouse or common-law partner.

To be eligible for this benefit, you must also have submitted a 2019 tax return because the amount you can deduct is based on the income you reported to the CRA. If you are a new immigrant to Canada, you will be required to furnish information regarding your income for 2019.

What can I recoup?

If your net income was less than $125,000 in 2019, you qualify for up to $1000 if you’re a family (someone who has a spouse or common-law partner) or a single parent (someone who is the primary caregiver of at least one child).

If your net income in 2019 was less than $62,500 and you are an individual, you are eligible to receive up to $500.

Between January and March 2021, low-income seniors and taxpayers who receive income or disability assistance will get an extra $150 per month.

Where can I apply?

Up to June 30, 2021, you can submit an application for the BC Recovery Benefit online, over the phone, or in person at a Service BC location. Each family should only submit one application.

Before applying, you must have the following documents available:

  • A social security number;
  • your banking details;
  • The B.C. a driver’s licence, if you possess one,
  • Your 2019 Assessment or Reassessment Notice.

4. Credit for Renovations in Saskatchewan

Are you replacing your roof’s shingles this year? Or perhaps you have plans to erect a brand-new deck in your backyard. Whatever your plans are, the Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit was created to lower the cost of the home upgrades you require.

On your 2021 tax return, you can deduct costs associated with house renovations that started in October 2020.

What can I recoup?

The most you can deduct for remodelling expenses in your house is:

  • $11,000 for costs incurred from October 1 through December 31, 2021; and
  • $9,000 for costs incurred from January 1 through December 31, 2022.

This tax credit is non-refundable, which means it reduces the overall amount of taxes you owe when you file your return. You may only receive a credit of a maximum of $2,100. This sum can be divided among your household members, but the person with the higher income should declare the full amount of your costs on their tax return to receive a bigger tax credit!

What renovations are permitted?

You can deduct costs for things like labour and expert services, building supplies, fixtures, equipment rentals, and licences. Visit the Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit page for a complete list of qualified costs.

You may deduct the following costs:

  • Furniture;
  • appliances (such as a stove or refrigerator);
  • electronics for audio and video (such a computer, TV, or speakers);
  • a hot tub;
  • Tools;
  • maintenance (such as furnace, pool, snow, or yard maintenance cleaning); and
  • financing expenses for your upgrades, such as interest payments.

5. Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit in Ontario

You might be eligible to claim the Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit on your 2021 return if you’re planning repairs to make your home safer and more accessible in 2021.

Do I qualify?

If you are a senior (over 65 years old) or if you have senior family members living with you, you may be eligible for this credit.

Renovations to a senior’s primary dwelling that increase safety and accessibility are required in order to qualify for this tax credit (the main house, apartment, trailer, or any other type of household where they live).

What can I recoup?

This tax credit is refundable and equals 25% of the cost of your renovations. Your maximum reimbursement is $10,000, therefore the most you might receive is $2,500.

What types of renovations fall under this category?

You may deduct costs like:

  • round the toilet, bathtub, and shower, install grab bars and other reinforcements;
  • installing an elevator, stairlifts, or ramps for wheelchairs;
  • modernising to non-slip surfaces; and/or
  • any changes required in order for a senior to live on the first level of their house.

6. Benefit for Working Parents in Alberta

Families who paid for childcare so that they could continue working during the pandemic and whose annual family income is less than $100,000 would receive this one-time, tax-free reimbursement.

What can I recoup?

You may submit a claim for $561 per kid if you meet the eligibility requirements for this benefit.

The Working Parents Benefit you receive will reduce the amount you can deduct for childcare costs on your 2020 tax return. You are still better off applying for this benefit, though. Reporting this benefit will put money in your pocket, as opposed to claiming your daycare bills, which would simply reduce the taxes you owe. You must ask for a revision to your return if you’ve already filed your 2020 return and want to seek this benefit.

7. Benefit for Critical Workers in Alberta

$1,200 will be given as a one-time reward to Alberta’s key workers.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this benefit:

  • Work in public health, social services, or education is required; or
  • You must be an employee of the private sector providing Albertans with essential basic services (such as a grocery clerk, security guard, or delivery driver), and you must
  • earn $25 or less per hour,
  • between October 12, 2020, and January 31, 2021, put in at least 300 hours of work,
  • be situated in Alberta and employed there.

Visit the provincial government website for a comprehensive list of employees who are and are not eligible.

Where can I apply?

You do not need to submit an application for this benefit if you work in the public sector. Public healthcare, social services, and educational critical staff will automatically get this remuneration.

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