BMO Nesbitt Burns

BMO Nesbitt Burns

April 19, 2013 08:00 ET

BMO Nesbitt Burns: Variety of Tax Credits and Deductions Available for Canadians to Save on Taxes

- BMO Nesbitt Burns study found that almost half of Canadians will be preparing their own tax returns in 2013

- Moving expenses, carrying charges, public transit passes, and children's fitness and arts programs among often overlooked credits and deductions

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 19, 2013) - As the April 30th personal income tax deadline approaches, BMO Nesbitt Burns reminds Canadians that there is still time for them to save on their tax bill by researching personal income tax credits and deductions and taking advantage of all eligible tax incentives.

According to a recent BMO Nesbitt Burns study, almost half of Canadians are preparing their own tax returns rather than relying on someone else - such as a tax professional or family/friends - to do it for them. Additionally, the study found that more than one-third of Canadians (35 per cent) will be using tax software to file their returns this year.

"With so many turning to 'Do-It-Yourself' tax filing, it's more important than ever for Canadians to be extra diligent in looking for opportunities to lower their overall tax bill," said John Waters, Vice President, Head of Tax & Estate Planning, Wealth Planning Group, BMO Nesbitt Burns. "If you're preparing your own tax return and are questioning whether you've taken advantage of all available deductions, be sure to take the time to educate yourself or consult a tax professional for assistance."

BMO Nesbitt Burns identifies some of the tax credits and deductions that are available to Canadian taxpayers:

Charitable Donations: If you make a donation to a registered charity, the federal and provincial governments will return a portion of it back. For a bigger tax break, spouses can pool their contributions. Donations can be claimed in the tax year they were made or carried forward for up to five years.

Children's Fitness and Arts Programs: Parents can claim up to $500 annually in fees for sports and fitness activities per child under the age of 16, which provides a federal tax savings of up to $75 per child. Arts-related activities are also eligible for a credit up to $500 per qualifying child, resulting in a maximum $75 savings federally.

Medical Expenses: Lesser-known eligible medical expenses include hearing aids, guide dogs for the blind, bathroom aids, a portion of the cost of an air conditioner to ease severe respiratory ailments, incremental expenses to provide accessible housing (such as mobility-related home renovations), incremental costs of acquiring gluten-free food products for those with celiac disease and tutoring services for those with a certified learning disability.

Moving Expenses: If a move brings you a minimum of 40 km closer to your new job, expenses such as movers, renting a truck, cost of breaking a lease, storing furniture, legal fees, real estate commissions and the cost of food and hotels while moving can be claimed as deductible expenses.

Caregiver Tax Credit: Canadian families providing in-home care for a dependent adult relative, including an aging parent, or other relative with a physical or mental impairment, may be eligible.

Public Transit Passes: Monthly passes are eligible for a tax credit, as are series of weekly transit passes allowing unlimited travel, provided the rider has bought at least four consecutive passes.

Carrying Charges and Interest Expenses: Deductible costs associated with managing or taking care of your investments include eligible fees paid for investment advice and interest paid on loans used for investment purposes.

Self-Employment Expenses: Provided certain criteria are met, self-employed persons with a home office may be able to deduct part of the dwelling costs that relate to their business activity. Costs that can be claimed include mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance.

Textbook Tax Credit: Post-secondary 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.

Tradespersons' Tool Deduction: Tradespeople can expense up to $500 of the cost of eligible tools, including any GST, provincial sales tax, or HST paid.

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