Tax Changes Ahead!

Some of us look towards the tax season with dread, but there’s also lots of reasons to be excited if you have a family. Plus, how great is it that February has an entire day devoted to family? Almost all Canadian families are given an extra day to spend time with each other. H&R Block wants to give Canadian families another reason to celebrate Family Day, by reminding them of all the credits and deductions they’re entitled to. Want more money for your family vacation next year? Then, pay attention.

Changes to benefits this year: There’s a new benefit in town and it’s called the Canada child benefit. It actually replaced the Canada child tax benefit and Universal child care benefits last year. Canadians may be entitled to this tax-free monthly payment that helps eligible families with the cost of raising children under the age of 18.

Last chance for certain credits: This is the last year to claim the Children’s arts tax credit and Children’s fitness tax credit. If your children participated in a program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or development activity (such as tutoring), you may be able to claim up to $250 of the fees paid, per child. If your children played hockey, took horseback riding lessons, or participated in some other eligible program of physical activity, you may be able to claim up to $500 per child for the cost of registration in these programs.

Child care expenses – Canadian’s who paid for daycare or a child care program such as a summer day camp, may be able to claim these expenses.

Other benefits to remember – if you have a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you may be eligible to claim a transfer of the unused amount. If you are caring for a dependent with a physical or mental impairment, you may be able to claim the Family caregiver amount .

Whatever you do, be sure to contact a tax professional to make sure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to!

Planning to Adopt a Child?

Adoptive parents face unique challenges from the moment they begin the process of adopting their son or daughter. One of the most obvious challenges is the significant costs associated with the adoption process, which can really add up. It’s important to know the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has credits and benefits designed to help adoptive parents shoulder the financial burden.

If you are adopting a child who is under 18 years of age, you may be able to claim up to $15,000 in eligible adoption expenses on your income tax and benefit return. You need to make a claim in the tax year when the adoption order is issued or when the child starts living with you, whichever is later. These eligible expenses can include fees paid to an adoption agency licensed by a provincial or territorial government, document translation fees, and mandatory expenses paid for a child’s immigration. To find out more about the adoption expense tax credit, including how to determine the adoption period, visit www.cra.gc.ca.

The tax savings and benefits continue while you adjust to adoptive parenthood and settle into your new life. From the $160 (under proposed changes) monthly universal child care benefit, for all children under six years of age (under proposed changes, there will be a $60 monthly benefit for children ages six to 17), to the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), a tax-free benefit available to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under age 18.

Did you know there’s a new credit called the Family Tax Cut? It’s a proposed non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 available to eligible couples with children under the age of 18. The Family Tax Cut will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket.