Update from Canada’s Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte
Tax season is almost here again. Filing taxes is important to make sure individuals get all the benefits they are entitled to, especially low-income seniors.
I encourage everyone to file their taxes on time to ensure they receive all their benefits, such as:
- the GST/HST credit, a tax-free quarterly payment to offset all or part of the GST or HST paid by individuals with low or middle incomes, including seniors;
- the age amount, which provides a deduction for those over age 65;
- the climate action incentive payment, which returns proceeds from carbon pricing to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Ontario; and
- the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which provides a monthly benefit for low-income seniors.
Those four benefits alone can add up to more than a thousand dollars for middle-income seniors, or thousands for low-income seniors.
Get free tax help, virtually
If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be able to get free tax help. This year, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, volunteers may be able to do your taxes virtually by videoconference or phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement. For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-help.
Home accessibility tax credit
A safe and accessible home will help seniors live independently for as long as possible. Through the home accessibility tax credit, seniors who spend up to $10,000 in a year to make their home more accessible can get a tax credit worth up to $1,500. In addition, this credit can help seniors with their part of the cost of eligible expenses for common areas.
Canada caregiver credit
The Canada caregiver credit is a non-refundable tax credit that can help Canadians—including seniors—support a spouse, common-law partner or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment.
Disability tax credit
The disability tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities—or their supporting family members—reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
Pension income splitting
Couples may be able to take advantage of pension income splitting. This allows Canadians to choose, with their spouse or common-law partner, to split up to 50% of their eligible pension income to reduce their taxes.
Medical expenses credit
You may be able to claim the medical expenses credit for eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse paid in the tax year or did not claim in the previous tax year. You may also be eligible to claim related credits:
- the refundable medical expense supplement, which provides additional support to working individuals with low incomes and high medical expenses; and
- the disability supports deduction, which may allow you to claim some medical expenses if you have an impairment in physical or mental functions.
Filing your taxes is the only way to take full advantage of all the benefits the Government of Canada offers to seniors.
Be sure to catch my special presentation with the Canada Revenue Agency on taxes for seniors in English on February 24 at 4 p.m. and one with my Parliamentary Secretary Stephane Lauzon in French on February 26 at 2 p.m. Watch the Seniors in Canada Facebook page for details. And, for more tips for seniors from the Canada Revenue Agency, click here.
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