B.C. Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons With Disabilities
In February 2016, British Columbia altered the eligibility rules for the Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and invited persons with disabilities to take advantage of the credit. This tax credit applies to expenses incurred for renovations to improve access, mobility, or risk of danger, and it can help to offset your provincial income tax owed.
To claim the Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, you must be a resident of British Columbia on the last day of the tax year in which the expenses were incurred. Additionally, you must be over the age of 65 or qualify for the disability credit. However, if you live with a relative who is disabled or a senior, you may also claim this credit.Generally, if you qualify for the disability tax credit, you are eligible for this credit. However, if you cannot claim the disability credit because you have an attendant who takes care of you, you may still be able to claim this credit.
If you are a senior or a taxpayer living with a senior, you may claim this credit on expenses incurred on or after April 1, 2012. However, if you are disabled or living with someone with a disability, eligible expenses must be incurred on or after Feb. 17, 2016.
If you pay the expense later than the day it became payable, the date it became payable is considered the date you incurred the expense. For example, imagine you are a disabled individual under the age of 65 who had a contractor renovate part of your home in 2015. You received the bill in December 2015, but you did not pay it until March 2016. Unfortunately, because the bill was payable in December 2015, this expense is not eligible for the credit even though you paid the bill after the February 2016 eligibility date.
A range of renovation expenses qualifies for this credit. In particular, general renovations to improve access for seniors or disabled persons qualify. These renovations may include widening doorways, adding grab bars in corridors, moving the position of light switches or outlets, or adding wheelchair ramps. Permanent renovations qualify for this credit, but you may also include costs related to buying modular or removable ramps and similar accessories.
Additionally, if you modify bathrooms with walk-in tubs, hands-free taps, raised toilets, or other aides, these expenses also qualify. Essentially, you may claim any renovation costs that make your home easier to navigate for a senior or disabled person.
The cost of new appliances, home medical equipment, and home care services does not qualify for this credit. Additionally, you cannot include the cost of home security equipment or electronics when calculating this credit. The government of British Columbia maintains lists of eligible and ineligible expenses.
Claiming the Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons With Disabilities
To claim this credit, you must complete Schedule BC(S12), British Columbia Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit. This schedule helps you calculate your credit, which you note in box 6048 of Form BC(479), British Columbia Credits. You do not have to submit your receipts for labour or other renovation expenses, but you should keep them with your records.
If a family member does the work for you, you may only claim those expenses if the receipt has a GST/HST number on it. For example, imagine your cousin is a licensed contractor and completes some of the renovation work for you. Because he is a professional, his receipt has a GST/HST number on it. In this case, you can include those expenses when claiming the credit. However, if your brother does the work and gives you a handwritten receipt without a GST/HST number, you may not claim the expenses.
Amount of the Credit
As of 2016, you may claim this credit on up to $10,000 of qualifying expenses. As the credit is worth 10% of your expenses, the maximum credit is worth $1,000. That helps to reduce your provincial tax bill. For example, if you have $6,000 of qualifying expenses, you can qualify for a $600 credit.
If you and another eligible person split the expenses, you may both claim the tax credit. However, you must split the credit, and your total expenses cannot exceed $10,000. For example, if you live with your father who is over the age of 65 and you spend $15,000 on qualifying repairs, you cannot each claim $7,500 as that exceeds the $10,000 threshold. However, you may claim $7,500 and he may claim $2,500, or you may split the expenses up in another way. You simply have to make sure the total expenses claimed do not exceed $10,000.