For the 2016 tax year, the government added Home Accessibility Expenses. This a non-refundable tax credit for those expenses you incurred to make your home more accessible for yourself, or a spouse, a parent, or a child that you care for. Whomever the expenses are incurred for, they must either qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, or be over 65 years of age. This being a non-refundable tax credit, it must be used in the year the expenses are incurred, and cannot be carried forward.
Are you eligible?
You can claim an amount for the eligible expenses for a qualifying renovation of an eligible dwelling, if:
A qualifying individual is:
An eligible individual is:
Do you have an eligible dwelling?
An eligible dwelling is a housing unit (or a share of the capital stock of a co-operative housing corporation that was acquired for the sole purpose of acquiring the right to inhabit the housing unit owned by the corporation) located in Canada and meets at least one of the following conditions:
Generally, the land on which the housing unit stands, up to ½ hectare (1.24 acres), will be considered part of the eligible dwelling.
A qualifying individual may have only one eligible dwelling at any time, but may have more than one eligible dwelling in a year (for example, in a situation where an individual move in the year). When a qualifying individual has more than one eligible dwelling in a year, the total eligible expenses for all such eligible dwellings of the qualifying individual cannot be more than $10,000.
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:
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; fixtures; equipment rentals; building plans; and permits.
However, the value of your own labour or tools cannot be claimed as eligible expenses.
Work performed by a family member
Expenses are not eligible if the goods or services are provided by a person related to the qualifying individual or the eligible individual, unless that person is registered for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) under the Excise Tax Act. If your family member is registered for GST/HST and if all other conditions are met, the expenses will be eligible.
Work performed by professionals
Generally, paid work done by professionals such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters and architects for eligible expenses qualifies. If you're planning on hiring a contractor to do construction, renovation, or repair work on your home, the Get it in writing! website has information that will help you.
The following expenses will not be eligible:
Other factors to consider
Medical expense tax credit (METC)
You may have an eligible expense that also qualifies as a medical expense. If so, you can claim the expense as a medical expense and a home accessibility expense.
Condominium and co-operative housing corporations
For condominium or co-operative housing corporations, your share of the cost of eligible expenses for common areas qualifies.
Other government grants or credits
The expenses are not reduced by assistance from the federal or a provincial government, including a grant, forgivable loan, or tax credit.
Vendor rebates or incentives
Eligible expenses are generally not reduced by reasonable rebates or incentives offered by the vendor or manufacturer of goods or the provider of the service.
Business and/or rental use of part of an eligible dwelling
If you earn business or rental income from part of an eligible dwelling, you can only claim the amount for eligible expenses incurred for the personal-use areas of your dwelling.
For expenses incurred and/or goods acquired for common areas or that benefit the housing unit as a whole (such as a ramp or hand rails), you must divide the expense between personal use and income-earning use.
Completing your tax return
To claim home accessibility expenses complete Schedule 12, Home accessibility expenses, and report the amount from line 4 of Schedule 12 on line 398 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax.
A maximum of $10,000 per year in eligible expenses can be claimed for a qualifying individual. When there is more than one qualifying individual for an eligible dwelling, the total eligible expenses cannot be more than $10,000 for the dwelling. The claim can be split between the qualifying individual and the eligible individual(s) for the qualifying individual. If the claimants cannot agree to what portion each can claim, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine the portions.
Eligible expenses must be supported by acceptable documentation, such as agreements, invoices, and receipts. They must clearly identify the type and quantity of goods bought or services provided, including, but not limited to, the following information, as applicable:
The Home Accessibility Expenses credit can give you a bit of tax relief if you’ve had to make your home more accessible for yourself or a dependent. Even if you’ve gotten federal or provincial assistance, you can still claim the expenses for this credit.