Finance

HAFI Grants – Home Adaptatons for Independence

  

Government of BC program that recognizes even small home adaptations can make a big difference in the

lives of people who wish to remain in their homes longer.

If you or a member of your family is having difficulty performing day-to-day activities independently and safely – the HAFI program may be able to help. 
Note that to be eligible for grants to make an improvement your house must be worth less than lot value – who sets these ridiculous limits anyways?

http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Home_Renovations

Post Secondary bursaries and scholarships

  

I have found many good leads for funding at this site: disabilityawards.ca

Don’t forget to follow up with the disability organization that supports your child in your province as well. For example, here in BC the Cerebral Palsy Association has bursaries for post-secondary students who have Cerebral Palsy.

Check out STEPS Forward as well, they have some great ideas: steps-forward.org

Finally, dont’ forget to take all the tax breaks you can to help fund your student’s education.

 

Tax Preparation Clinics in Your Community

  

For people with a disability the BC Coalition for People with a Disability is hosting free tax preparation clinics. Please see THE BCCPWD BLOG for more information.

The Canada Revenue Agency also lists all the  Community Volunteer Income Tax Program locations in Canada at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/vlntr/menu-eng.html

CRA – Tax Tips for Everyone

  

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a tax tips webpage
with new 2011 tax year hints, tips and contact information.  There is a
list of all the credits, deductions and benefits administered by the
CRA.

The CRA also has a link for all the topics of interest for people with a disability or people who support someone with a disability.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/sgmnts/dsblts/menu-eng.html 

Open an RDSP now or wait until a child becomes and adult?

  

Because RDSP beneficiaries will probably have lower income than their families once they become adults, people think that they should wait until the beneficiary is an adult before opening.  The analysis doesn’t necessarily bear this out.  Read the post:

 http://rdspresource.ca/index.php/2012/01/when-should-you-start-an-rdsp-for-your-child/

 

Tax Tips for Workers with a Disability

  

Thanks to the Tax Detective, here are some tax tips for the person with a disability who decides to work, even for a low amount of income. There are incentives to work, some new, some old, in the tax system. Some government benefit programs are dependent on the calculation of net income and may be affected by increased net income, but there are several claims for expenses that may reduce the calculation of net income. 

A program for the working poor, Working Income Tax Benefit will actually pre-pay benefits if you can figure out how to claim. More information: Line 453 WIT

Medical Expenses

By claiming medical expenses you may find a supplement you are entitled to, a credit of a bit over $1,000 per year…see Line 452: Refundable Medical Expense Supplement

Child Care
If you work and pay for Child Care, child care is usually only deductible by the lower income spouse, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a parent in school, infirm, jail or hospital.  The result of claiming child care is to lower net income. If the claimant is a person with a disability, reducing their net income will aid in preserving tax credits for a claim by a supporting spouse or other family members and may also reduce the impact on other government benefit programs that rely on the calculation of net income, such as Persons with Disability Benefits, Pharmacare and MSP premiums.

Disability Supports Expense
If a person with a disability works and has specific medical expenses that qualify, including attendant care and various devices and equipment,  they may be claimed on Line 215 to reduce net income. All qualifying medical expenses are listed HERE.

A benefit of disability supports expense claims is other credits such as the disability tax credit may still transferrable to supportive family because net income is lower than the total of other credits.
The family may also claim other credits such as the caregiver or infirm over 18 tax credits. These credits are all dependent on the calculation of net income, so it makes sense that if the disability supports reduce net income, this is a good thing.
Normally medical expenses don’t reduce net income. They are reported on Line 330 as a medical expense credit and the taxpayer must deduct 3% of their net income or on Line 331 if paid by the supportive relative net of 3% of the net income of the person with the disability who is supported.
Only the person with the disability can claim Disability Supports on Line 215 and only for the calendar year. There is no carry over for 24 months in year of death or flexibility of claiming any 12 months that end in the year, or having their spouse claim instead if it’s more advantageous, all of which are possible with medical expenses, both on Line 330 for self, or if paid by someone else on Line 331 net of 3% of the supported persons’ net income.
Eileen Reppenhagen, CGA, ACG, CL
www.taxdetective.ca

Who will be the holder of your son/daughter’s RDSP in the future?

  

None of us know what the future holds.  The wisdom of families who have gone before is the mantra that "good planning sews the seeds of peace of mind".

If you live in BC, you can easily plan ahead for future holders of RDSPs with a Representation Agreement.

Click here for the full post:  http://rdspresource.ca/index.php/2011/11/account-holders-and-representation-agreements/

 

What can I claim as a medical expense on my taxes?

  

What can I claim as a medical expense?

You can claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse or common-law partner; or
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 1992 or later and who depended on you for support
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child who was born in 1991 or earlier, or grandchild; or
  • Your
    or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parent, grandparent, brother,
    sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew who was a resident of Canada at
    any time in the year

Along with prescribed medications, medical expenses you can claim
include travel expenses for medical services, respite care expenses,
homeopathic services, tutoring services, ambulance transport, and costs
associated with seizure response dogs. Below is a list of medical
expenses you can and cannot claim in your tax return.

Expenses you can claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/llwbl-eng.html

Expenses you cannot claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/ntllwbl-eng.html

An authorized medical practitioner must prescribe expenses and
original receipts must support claims. Eligible expenses must have been
paid in the claim period and any reimbursements from insurance
companies, work medical plans, etc. must be deducted from the amount
claimed.

For more information about medical expenses, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.

Save even MORE money with your child’s RESP

  

Canada Education Savings Programs (CESP)

If you are saving for a child’s education, the Government of Canada will help you with special saving incentives that are only available if you have an RESP.   See more at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/resp-reee/cesp-pcee/menu-eng.html

Free On-Line Software for students and people with simple tax returns

  

I have always found TurboTax (previously known at QuickTax) easy to use and if you are a student or have a simple tax return, you can use the on-line version for free:

Do you Qualify to use the free version?*

TurboTax now offers 2 totally free ways for many Canadians to prepare
their taxes: TurboTax Free Online Edition and TurboTax Student Online
Edition. Find out if you qualify to use either solution here.

TURBOTAX FREE ONLINE EDITION – For Income-Only Tax Returns
You can use TurboTax Free Online Edition if:

  • You Earned Income: You receive T-slips, like T4s & T4As. You may have have tip income and/or pension income.
    • You are not self-employed. 
    • You do not have investment income or RRSPs.
    • You have not made any charitable donations or investments.
  • You Have Simple Deductions: You receive only ‘standard’ federal & provincial deductions.

TURBOTAX STUDENT ONLINE EDITION – For Post-Secondary Student Tax Returns
You can use TurboTax Student Online Edition if:

  • You Were a Student in 2011: You paid tuition fees during the 2010 calendar year and you hold a T2202A, TL11 or its equivalent.
  • You Made Under $20K: Your household income does not exceed $20,000 gross (that is, before taxes).

*This tip was updated March 2012