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BMO Bank of Montreal

April 20, 2012 08:59 ET

BMO: Are You Eligible? Lesser Known Tax Credits Can Help Canadians Save This Tax Season

- Students can take advantage of tuition and textbook tax credits

- Tradespeople can lower their tax bill by claiming their tools as expenses

- Small businesses have access to apprenticeship tax advantages

- Children's art programmes and caregiver expenses can also qualify at tax time

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 20, 2012) - As the April 30th tax deadline approaches, BMO reminds Canadians to be tax-savvy and take advantage of all eligible tax credits and deductions. In Canada, federal, provincial and territorial governments offer a variety of credits aimed at reducing the amount of taxes Canadians owe; however, in order to take advantage of tax credits, they must be identified and claimed on your tax return.

"When you plan your family's finances it is important to adopt a tax-smart strategy and educate yourself about some of the lesser-known tax credits that are available to you and your family," said John Waters, Head of Tax, Estate and Trust Expertise at BMO Nesbitt Burns. "When filing your 2011 tax returns, or planning ahead for 2012, do some research and identify the credits and deductions that could keep more money in your pocket."

BMO identifies some often overlooked tax credits and deductions:

Educational Examinations Tax Credit: Many students who acquire a professional status must pass a licensing exam which would carry an additional expense. Students who paid a qualifying institution to take an examination, in addition to their tuition fees, can generally claim this expense as a tuition tax credit.

Textbook Tax Credit: Textbooks for post secondary education can cost upwards of $200 per book. Students can claim textbook expenses up to $65 per month of study for full-time and $20 per month of study for part-time students.

Tradepersons' Deduction for Tools: Many tradespersons must purchase tools up-front in order to earn employment income. Meeting the criteria for this tax deduction allows a tradesperson to expense up to $500 of the cost of eligible tools - including any GST, provincial sales tax, or HST paid - in their tax return.

Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit: Businesses that employ an apprentice in a skilled trade are eligible to receive a non-refundable tax credit equal to 10 per cent of the salaries and wages paid to the apprentice (or up to $2,000) in the first two years of an apprenticeship contract (registered with the federal, provincial, or territorial government).

Children's Art Tax Credit and Children's Fitness Tax Credit: Many Canadian children are involved in extracurricular activities. Parents are entitled to claim two tax credits of up to $500 each for each child under the age of 16, to cover expenses related to the cost of a child's registration or membership in an eligible artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity and/or programs that endorse physical activity (such as hockey, dance, soccer, etc).

Caregiver Tax Credit: Canadian families that are providing in-home care for a dependant adult relative, including an aging parent, or other relative with a physical or mental impairment, may be eligible for a caregiver tax credit provided the dependant's net income is below certain threshold amounts.

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To learn more about saving and investing wisely, please visit www.bmo.com/smartinvesting.

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