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Increases to Climate Action Tax Credits

Gradual increases are planned for the provincial Climate Action Tax Credit for eligible taxpayers.

In July of this year, the maximum amount of the annual credit was increased to $155 per adult from $135. This will increase to $174 per adult in July 2020, and $194 per adult in July 2021.

The annual credit per child increased to $46 from $40 on July 1, and will increase to $51 per child in July 2020, and $57 per child in July 2021.

These credits are primarily targeted at helping low income families. Most of these families will receive dill credit if their qualifying income is less that $40,689.

Provincial Education Credit Eliminated… (Again)

There has been another change to the education tax credit for students in British Columbia. As discussed in the Autumn  newsletter, the previous  provincial government had planned to eliminate the provincial education  tax credit. When the  new government came to power, they cancelled the plans for eliminating this credit. However, in the provincial budget  this spring, it was announced once again that the credit would be eliminated, as of January 1, 2019.

Tax Documentation Changes for 2016

Tax season is once again upon us, and there are some changes that you will need to consider when bringing us your 2016 tax documentation.

Starting in 2016, you are required to report the sale of your principal residence. It is important to note that there has been no changes to the taxability of the sale of your principal residence. If your home qualified as you principal residence for the entire period of ownership, you will not have to pay income tax on the sale of the property. If you have sold your principal residence, the only information that you need to provide to us will be the address, the year you purchased the home, and the proceeds from the sale of the property. You do not have to provide any information on the original cost of the property.

If you are a teacher or an early educator, you can now qualify for the Eligible School Supply Credit. This credit allows eligible teachers and early childhood educators to claim up to $1,000 of eligible supplies used in the classroom. Eligible supplies must have been purchased in 2016. These would include most consumable items, such as pens, paper, and art supplies. Durable goods such as books, computer software, and bankers boxes, would also be eligible. Computers will not qualify for this credit. The Canada Revenue Agency may ask to see that your receipts  have been certified by a principal at your school. Please bring this certification with you when you bring us your eligible receipts.

Children’s arts and fitness credits can still be used for 2016, although the amount of the credit will be one half of what it was in 2015. You can receive a credit for up to $500 of eligible fitness expenditures for children under 16, and up to $250 for eligible arts credit expenditures. The federal potion of these credits have been eliminated for 2017.

If you qualified for the disability tax credit in 2016, you will now be eligible for the home Accessibility Tax Credit. A similar provincial credit has existed for Seniors in previous years. This credit will allow you to claim $10,000 of eligible expenditures. In order for the expenditure to qualify for the credit , it must be a renovation or alteration that is of an enduring nature.

The family tax cut has been removed for 2016. There have been no changes to pension splitting for 2016.

New Tax Credit for Coaches

A new credit was introduced for teachers this year to encourage involvement in volunteer activities at qualifying schools.

The B.C. Education Coaching Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit for teachers and teaching assistants who volunteer for at least 10 hours of extracurricular coaching activity in the tax year. The provincial credit amount is $500, providing a tax benefit up to $25.30.

The credit is available for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax years. The taxpayer must be a resident of B.C on December 31 to quality for the credit. The extracurricular activities must be performed after school or on weekends, and can include sports, arts and many more activities.

In order for the school qualify, it must provide instruction for the children from kindergarten though grade 12. This would include public schools, francophone schools, independent schools and First Nation schools.

Activities undertaken at preschools would not be eligible to quality for this credit.

CHILDREN’S FITNESS CREDIT INCREASED

In September, the federal government announced that they will be doubling the amount of Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. The maximum credit has been $500 since it was first introduced in 2007. This maximum is being increased to $1,000 per child, starting with the 2014 taxation year.

fitness

A taxpayer can save up to $150 of federal tax with this credit, up from the current maximum of $75.

The provincial government also provides a credit of $500, which provides a maximum provincial tax saving of $25.

The provincial government has not commented on whether they will match the federal increase. 2012 was they year the provincial credit was available, five years after the federal credit was introduced.

In a addition, the federal government will be making this credit refundable, starting in 2015. Previously, low income families may have been unable to use this credit, as non-refundable credits can only be used to reduce federal taxes to zero. If a taxpayer owed no tax prior to the credit, they would receive no benefit from it. Making this credit refundable will allow low income taxpayers to benefit from this credit.

The tax credit applies to children under 16, or under 18 if they are eligible for the disability amount.

There have been no changes to the type of activities that qualify for the credit.