North York Mirror
The provincial government has upped its commitment to seniors with the introduction of a tax break geared toward making homes more accessible and allowing people to live independently in their homes for longer.
Seniors Minister Linda Jeffrey announced the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, which puts in place a permanent, refundable tax credit that could put as much as $1,500 back into the pockets of seniors or those living with seniors, at the North York Seniors Centre on Thursday, Nov. 22.
“We know that the home is where seniors connect to their community,” Jeffrey told a group of seniors at the centre. “It’s where we as a government can support you in your independence.”
The plan calls for a 15 per cent tax credit on such home upgrades as ramps, grab bars, walk-in or wheel-in bathtubs or showers, lowered counters, non-slip flooring or anything else that will allow seniors to live independently in their homes longer.
“Often, making small, practical changes to our homes can make a world of difference in our lives,” Jeffrey said. “Living at home is great for (seniors’) peace of mind and also for their children’s.”
The credit applies to seniors or to non-seniors living with senior family members. It does not apply to landlords and cannot be used for general repairs that do not improve the ability of seniors to live independently in their homes. It also does not apply to devices such as wheelchairs, walkers or home security, or services such as in-home care or housekeeping.
The credit can be used retroactively for eligible work done as early as October 2011.
“The fact that it’s permanent...means seniors can use this credit this year, next year and the years after that,” said tax advisory specialist Jeremy Bertrand, who added its refundable nature means seniors can claim the credit and receive a tax rebate even if they do not owe provincial taxes.
The Ministry of Consumer Services is advising seniors to get at least three written estimates on work to be done and to check contractors’ references among the steps they can take to ensure they are not victimized by unscrupulous companies or individuals.
For more information on the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, visit www.ontario.ca/healthyhomes or call 1-866-668-8297.