Are you getting more mail than usual? You may be disappointed to notice that it's not your monthly issue of Fashion Magazine, or Ed McMahon (R.I.P.) with that million dollar cheque.
Tax season is approaching and tax slips for 2017 will begin to roll in. With tax laws changing as quickly as your professional and personal circumstances, it's easy to make mistakes that can end up costing you in the end. As you start to collect your tax slips and prepare to file, note the tax law changes that may affect your filing this year.
National Transit Tax Credit
The government announced the elimination of the public transit amount on June 30, 2017, citing that the credit wasn't effective enough in encouraging the use of public transit and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of the individual tax credit, the government has announced that it will invest $20 billion over the next 11 years to improve transit across Canada. Though the credit ended mid-year, you can still claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit for transit passes purchased between January 1 and June 30, 2016 on your 2017 income tax and benefit return.
Small Business Tax Changes
Good news for small business owners: the government recently lowered the small business tax rate to 10 per cent, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and intends to lower it further to 9 per cent, by Jan. 1, 2019.
In recognition of the commitment and sacrifice made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces, it was announced that military salaries of all deployed Canadian Armed Forces personnel would be exempt from federal income taxes.
Benefits for Families
The bad news: the Children's Fitness and Arts Tax Credit and the additional amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit will no longer be available for the upcoming tax season. In previous years, parents and guardians were eligible to receive credits for such activities as art classes, piano lessons, hockey and soccer.
Now, for the good news: for 2018, the Canada Child Benefit will increase 1.5 per cent for July 2018 to 2019 benefits. This means more than $80 annually per child for those who qualify for Canada Child Benefits, and $41 more annually for those who qualify for the Child Disability Benefit.
Expanding your family? This year during the federal budget, the government also announced a new tax break for those who have used assisted reproductive technologies over the past 10 years. Just be sure to keep your receipts if claiming these expenses.
Students, take note: on Jan. 1, 2017, the federal government eliminated the federal education textbook and tax credits, meaning that 2016 was the last year where students could make these claims. Some provinces are also following suit, including Ontario, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, which are also eliminating the credit for tuition fees.
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Fortunately, the federal credit for tuition fees continues, and students will still be able to carry forward any unused education/textbook amounts from previous years.
It is important to stay current on the new tax law changes in order to understand if these laws affect you and file accordingly.
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