Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The 2015 Budget: Home Accessibility Tax Credit

The 2015 federal budget proposes to introduce a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit effective as of the start of 2016.  This non-refundable credit is intended to assist with the cost of making capital improvements to a private home so that elderly or disabled individuals can move around more safely within the home or can gain easier access to the home.  For example, installation of a wheelchair ramp, a walk-in bathtub or a grab bar would typically qualify for the credit.

The proposed credit will provide 15% tax relief on up to $10,000 of eligible expenditures per calendar year, per qualifying individual, to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible dwelling.

The credit assists qualifying individuals, defined as individuals who are at least 65 years old at the end of a taxation year or who can claim the Disability Tax Credit at any time in the year.  In case the qualifying individual does not have sufficient income to claim full advantage of the credit, however, eligible relatives of the qualifying individual can claim the credit in some cases.  An eligible relative could be a spouse or common-law partner of the qualifying individual or a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew of the qualifying individual.

Expenditures must be incurred in respect of the principal residence of the qualifying individual.  If the qualifying individual does not own a principal residence, expenditures can be made in respect of the principal residence of an eligible relative provided that the qualifying individual ordinarily inhabits that dwelling with the eligible relative.

Expenditures must be incurred in respect of an item that becomes an integral part of the principal residence.  Items such as furniture and appliances will not qualify for the credit.

While the credit was announced as part of the 2015 budget, the credit will apply only in respect of expenditures for work performed and goods acquired after the end of 2015.  Expenditures incurred in 2015 will not qualify.

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The above article provides general commentary of an educational nature. It does not constitute advice for any specific person or any specific set of circumstances. Because circumstances vary, readers should consult professional advisers in order to obtain advice that is applicable to their specific circumstances.