General Tax Tips

Make sure you file your tax return on time if you have a balance due, even if you cannot pay them right away. By doing so, you will at least avoid the late filing penalty. This is currently calculated as five percent of your balance due, plus one percent per month for a maximum of 12 months.

If you turn 19 before April 1, 2020, make sure you file a 2018 income tax return in order to receive the GST/HST credit. You will get at least one GST/HST Credit cheque for the payment dates following your birthday. For example, if you turn 19 in March 2020, you will receive the last quarterly payment for the July 2019 to June 2020 benefit period, which is paid in April 2020.

Contributions to a political party get a bigger tax credit than contributions to charities. In fact, for federal political contributions you get a credit of 75% on your first $400 contributed. If you are contributing to a political party or candidate in this year’s election, make sure to keep your receipts for political contributions separate from your charitable receipts.

Old charitable donation receipts that you forgot to claim in previous years should not be thrown away. Charitable donation receipts are good for five years after the year in which the donation was made.

If you are a resident of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba or Saskatchewan, you will begin paying the federal carbon tax on April 1, 2019. That is the bad news. The good news is that the government is refunding you what you will have to pay upfront in the form of the Climate Action Incentive. This is a refundable tax credit which you can only get by filing an income tax return.

Employees Tax Tips

If you have employment income, make sure you claim the Canada Employment Amount. For 2018, it provides a 15% non-refundable tax credit on your first $1,195 of employment income.

Employees are not normally allowed to claim supplies unless they are directly used up in the course of their employment. However, employees who are tradespersons may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of tools over $1,195. There is a maximum claim of $500.

Wage loss replacement benefits are completely tax-free if you paid all the premiums to the plan. They are taxable if your employer paid all the premiums. If both you and your employer contributed to the premiums, you can reduce the taxable portion of the benefits by the premiums you paid.

If you have to move because your place of employment changes, and your new residence is at least 40 kilometres closer to your new job than your old residence, you may be able to claim moving expenses. Your expenses are limited to the employment income earned at your new location. However, any amount in excess of this can be carried forward and claimed next year instead.

Families Tax Tips

Inform the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if there any changes in your family circumstances which could affect your GST/HST credit. Examples include a change in marital status or a change in the number of children in your care. The change will be reflected in your next quarterly GST/HST payment.

If you deposit your Canada Child Benefit into a separate bank account specifically for your child, any interest it earns is considered your child’s income rather than your own. Your child can earn up to $12,069 in the 2019 taxation year without being subject to federal tax.

If you are the single parent of a child under 18 and you live with your child and contribute to the maintenance of the dwelling in which you both live, you can claim an eligible dependant amount of $11,809 (which is the same as the spouse or common-law partner amount for couples). The amount is reduced by any income your child earns.

You may claim a non-refundable tax credit for expenses relating to the adoption of a child. For 2018, the maximum amount of expenses on which the credit is based is $15,905. You claim all your expenses in the year the adoption is finalized.

If you sold your home this year, make sure to designate it as your principal residence when you file your tax return. Failure to do so could result in the principal residence exemption being denied, which could result in the capital gain being taxable.

Seniors Tax Tips

Seniors who turn 65 can postpone receiving Old Age Security benefits for up to five years and receive higher annual benefits when they do start collecting. This would probably be beneficial to seniors whose net income is more than $77,580 in 2019 since they will not be subject to the OAS clawback.

If you have to make renovations to your home in order to make it safer or more accessible, you can claim a 15% credit for the first $10,000 of expenses.

If you are disabled due to a mobility impairment, the expenses may also qualify as medical expenses, in which case you can claim them twice. There are also similar provincial credits in British Columbia and New Brunswick.

If you have to travel more than 40 kilometres in order to get medical treatment which is not available locally, you can claim the cost of transportation as a medical expense. If you have to travel more than 80 kilometres you can also claim other travel expenses, such as meals and accommodation.

Disabled or Infirm Dependents

If you are disabled and need to pay for certain types of disability supports (such as optical scanners or sign-language interpretation services) in order to work or go to school, you may be able to claim a deduction for your expenses.

If you are supporting an infirm dependant who is 18 or over and infirm, you may be able to claim the Canada caregiver amount. For 2018, the maximum claim is $6,986. It is reduced by your dependant’s net income in excess of $16,405.

You may also claim the Canada caregiver amount for children under 18 at the end of the year who have an impairment in physical or mental functions. The child must be dependent on others for assistance in attending to personal needs and care when compared to children of the same age. For 2018, the amount is $2,182. is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.