Yes, it’s only January but the end of April comes quickly so now is a good time to think about tax-related issues. One of those is, does the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), have your current information. That could be a new address, marital status, and more. What has happened in your life this year, that the CRA may need to know about.
Moved? - If you’ve moved in the year, then you should’ve informed CRA as soon as you were at your new address. Even if you signed up for online mail, you should let them know about your new address; you can do this through My Account where you get your online mail.
Why is this important? Keeping your information up to date will ensure that you keep receiving benefit payments to which you may be entitled and important correspondence from the CRA. Otherwise, your payments may stop or you may not receive important correspondence, such as your notice of assessment.
CRA will not forward your new information to other government departments, except Elections Canada if you authorized such on your tax return. Contact other departments or organizations directly to give them your new address.
Marital Status? During the year you may have gotten married, or lived with someone for 12 consecutive months during some point in the year. In either case, you need to inform CRA as soon as your marital status changes.
This also goes for getting divorced. If your marital status changes during the year and you are entitled to any Canada child benefit (CCTB) payments, GST/HST credit, or working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments, you must let CRA know by the end of the month after the month of your divorce. In the case of separation, do not tell CRA until you have been separated for more than 90 consecutive days.
If you changed your name, let CRA know as soon as possible. Call them at 1-800-959-8281 to update our records. CRA does not accept changes of name by email or over the Internet.
Birth of a Child?
You’ve had a big event this year having a child, and you may be eligible for some tax credits from the government. The first one being the Child Tax Benefit (CTB).
To be eligible for the CCB, you have to meet all of the following conditions:
- You must live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age.
- You must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.
- You must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.
- You or your spouse or common-law partner must be:
- a Canadian citizen
- a permanent resident
- a protected person
- a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
- an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act, if you are not a Canadian citizen
The Automated Benefits Application is a partnership between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Vital Statistics Agency of the participating province. The CRA will use the information from the child's birth registration to determine your eligibility for benefits and credits.
You can use the Automated Benefits Application if all of these situations apply:
- you are the birth mother of a newborn
- your child is born in a participating province
- you did not already apply using My Account or Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application
What you need to do
After your baby is born:
- Complete your child’s provincial birth registration form.
- Give your consent to the Vital Statistics Agency to securely share the information from your birth registration form with the CRA.
- Provide your social insurance number (SIN) to avoid delays.
- Submit your form.
We recommend that you sign up for direct deposit before your baby is born to get your payments faster.
If you use the Automated Benefits Application, do not apply any other way.
If during the year you’ve become disabled, there are tax credits you can apply for to reduce your tax burden.
Disability Tax Credit
What is the disability tax credit?
The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. An individual may claim the disability amount once they are eligible for the DTC. This amount includes a supplement for persons under 18 years of age at the end of the year.
The purpose of the DTC is to provide for greater tax equity by allowing some relief for disability costs, since these are unavoidable additional expenses that other taxpayers don’t have to face.
Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as the registered disability savings plan, the working income tax benefit, and the child disability benefit.
Who is eligible for the DTC?
You are eligible for the DTC only if we approve Form T2201. A medical practitioner has to fill out and certify that you have a severe and prolonged impairment and must describe its effects. Answer a few questions to find out if the person with the disability may be eligible.
If we have already told you that you are eligible, do not send another form unless the previous period of approval has ended or if we tell you that we need one. You must tell us immediately if your medical condition improves.
Disability supports deduction
Individuals who have an impairment in physical or mental functions and have paid for certain medical expenses can claim the disability supports deduction under certain conditions.
Who is eligible?
If you have an impairment in physical or mental functions, you can claim a disability supports deduction if you paid expenses that no one has claimed as medical expenses. You must have paid them so you could:
- be employed or carry on a business (either alone or as an active partner)
- do research or similar work for which you received a grant
- attend a designated educational institution or a secondary school where you were enrolled in an educational program
Only the person with the impairment in physical or mental functions can claim expenses for this deduction.
Home Accessibility Expenses
If you became disabled and had to make adjustments to your home for your mobility and use of the home, you may be entitled to claim expenses for doing so. What renovations or expenses are eligible and ineligible?
A qualifying renovation is a renovation or alteration that is of an enduring nature and is integral to the eligible dwelling (including the land that forms part of the eligible dwelling). The renovation must:
- allow the qualifying individual to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within, the dwelling; or
- reduce the risk of harm to the qualifying individual within the dwelling or in gaining access to the dwelling.
An item you buy that will not become a permanent part of your dwelling is generally not eligible.
These expenses are outlays or expenses made or incurred during the year that are directly attributable to a qualifying renovation of an eligible dwelling. The expenses must be for work performed and/or goods acquired in the tax year.
Work performed by yourself
If you do the work yourself, the eligible expenses include expenses for :
- building materials;
- equipment rentals;
- building plans; and
However, the value of your own labour or tools cannot be claimed as eligible expenses. This includes someone who is related to you, unless they have a contracting business and are registered to GST/HST.
If you have had any changes in relation to the above, it’s best to inform the CRA as soon as possible. If you don’t and later changes are made to any credits you were receiving, then CRA will claw back any overpayments, and charge penalties and interest. At the same time we always appreciate knowing about any changes so that we can keep your file up to date.