Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency

February 16, 2009 13:00 ET

CRA/Minister Jean Pierre Blackburn Tells Canadian Taxpayers, "You've Earned it. Claim it."

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2009) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), was in Victoria today to announce the launch of the Government of Canada advertising campaign and to inform Canadians of the steps the Government is taking to provide them with tax relief.

"Reducing taxes stimulates the economy and helps build a solid foundation for future economic growth. We want to ensure Canadians have the information they need to take advantage of the tax savings that can help put money back in their pockets during these difficult economic times," said Minister Blackburn. "The 'You've earned it. Claim it.' advertising campaign is just one way we are able to inform Canadians of the tax credits and benefits available to them."

Also announced this morning was the new approach the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is taking to communicate with Canadians about their tax relief options.

"This tax filing season, the CRA is making it even easier to access information specific to your needs," explained Minister Blackburn. "Families, persons with disabilities, seniors, students, and even tradespersons can access information that specifically addresses their tax needs and speaks to the credits and benefits that apply to them."

A central Web page (www.canada.gc.ca/taxinfo) provides taxpayers with articles, tax tips, audiocasts, videocasts, and links to specific details on applicable credits and benefits to help each person save money and stay informed this tax filing season.

"For example, seniors will want to know more about positive changes to registered retirement income fund withdrawals, or to find out how to take advantage of pension income splitting," explained Minister Blackburn. "They will want to know they can claim both the age amount and their medical expenses. It is all available for them online and in one place."

This year's campaign arrives on the heels of Canada's Economic Action Plan announced in January, which took immediate action to reduce taxes, stimulate housing construction, support businesses and communities, and help Canadians.

In particular, new tax measures commencing in the 2009 tax year will provide a $750 non-refundable tax credit to first-time home buyers and increase from $20,000 to $25,000 the amount that they can withdraw from a registered retirement savings plan to purchase a home. Canadians can also benefit from the new home renovation tax credit, which can provide a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,350 in 2009.

"Buying a home for the first time is a milestone event for many Canadians and is often the single largest purchase that one can make," said Minister Blackburn. "The proposals announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan will not just help first-time home buyers. They will also help stimulate the housing sector through increase in demand for labour, building materials, and other goods and services."

Minister Blackburn's trip to Victoria includes a visit to a local Community Volunteer Income Tax Program office to speak to seniors about the tax relief measures that can be applied to their 2008 and 2009 income tax and benefit returns.

For more information on the advertising campaign and to access the custom-fit information for taxpayers, go to www.canada.gc.ca/taxinfo.


FACT SHEET

You've earned it. Claim it.

The Government of Canada has introduced a wide range of income tax relief measures to help you save on your taxes. Also, find out about our quick, easy, and secure electronic services.

Lowest tax rate - The lowest tax rate for 2008 is 15%. This rate also applies when calculating federal non-refundable tax credits.

Amount for children born in 1991 or later - You may be able to claim $2,038 for each of your or your spouse's or common-law partner's children if they lived with you throughout 2008 and were under the age of 18 at the end of the year.

Children's fitness amount - You may be able to claim up to $500 in eligible fees paid in 2008 to register each of your or your spouse's or common-law partner's children in a prescribed program of physical activity.

Northern residents deductions - For 2008, the residency deduction has increased to $8.25 per day if you are entitled to only the basic residency amount, or $16.50 per day if you are entitled to both the basic and the additional residency amounts.

Pension income splitting - Individuals who received eligible pension income in the year may be able to allocate up to half of that income to their spouse or common-law partner. To make this election, individuals must complete Form T1032, Joint Election to Split Pension Income.

Public transit amount - Individuals can claim the cost of monthly or longer duration public transit passes for travel within Canada. The passes must permit unlimited travel on local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains or buses, and local ferries. The cost of shorter duration passes can also be claimed if each pass entitles the user to unlimited travel for an uninterrupted period of at least five days and the user purchases enough of these passes so that the user is entitled to unlimited travel for at least 20 days in any 28-day period. Individuals can also claim the cost of electronic payment cards when used to make at least 32 one-way trips during an uninterrupted period not exceeding 31 days.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) withdrawals - Under proposed changes, the required minimum RRIF withdrawal amount was reduced by 25 per cent for 2008. This measure applies to all RRIF holders, regardless of age. RRIF holders who withdraw more than the reduced 2008 minimum amount will be permitted to re-contribute the excess to their RRIFs (up to the amount of the reduction provided by this measure), until March 1, 2009 at the latest. Re-contributions are deductible for the 2008 tax year.

Tradesperson's tool deduction - On their 2008 income tax returns, employed tradespersons (including apprentice mechanics) may be able to claim a deduction of up to $500 based on the cost of eligible tools in excess of $1,019 that they acquired during 2008.

Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) - When filing their income tax returns, individuals and families with low incomes may be able to claim the WITB, which includes a supplement for individuals who are entitled to the disability tax credit. Eligible individuals and families can also apply for advance payment of up to one half of their estimated 2009 WITB using Form RC201, Working Income Tax Benefit Advance Payments Application for 2009.

To ensure the best service possible, it is very important for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to have, on file, your current mailing address and financial account information.

The Government has also introduced the following measures to help Canadians:

Apprenticeship Incentive Grant - For information, go to www.servicecanada.gc.ca/apprenticeship.

Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) - The deadline for opening an RDSP, making contributions and applying for the matching grant and the income-tested bond for the 2008 contribution year has been extended to March 2, 2009 from December 31, 2008. The 2009 RDSP contribution year will begin March 3, 2009.

Remember to file your income tax return before the deadline at midnight on April 30, 2009. Tax returns can be submitted to the CRA electronically using NETFILE or EFILE, or by phone using TELEFILE, your return will be processed faster and if you are entitled to a refund, you will receive it earlier. If you are filing a paper return, mail it to the CRA using the envelope included in your tax package.

For more information on tax topics, go to www.canada.gc.ca/taxinfo.

Contact Information

  • Canada Revenue Agency
    Noel Carisse
    Media Relations
    613-952-9184
    or
    Office of the Minister of National Revenue
    Andrea Kent
    Director of Communications
    613-995-2960