The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, today highlighted the tax relief measures that the Harper Government has made available to Canadians through Canada's Economic Action Plan. As Canadians prepare to file their 2012 taxes, they will be able to claim the Family Caregiver Tax Credit for the first time. This new tax relief measure is only one of many introduced since 2006 to keep taxes low for Canadian families and businesses.
"Our Government is committed to supporting hardworking Canadians and their families," said Minister Shea. "We will continue to provide tax relief so that Canadians can keep more of their hard-earned dollars and invest in the economy."
Claiming these credits by filing online and using direct deposit will, in most cases, help individuals receive a refund in as little as eight days, compared to four to six weeks for a paper return.
The Harper Government has introduced or improved a number of tax relief measures for Canadians, including:
- The Family Caregiver Tax Credit – Is a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $2,000 that provides tax relief to caregivers of infirm dependant relatives. This includes, for the first time, infirm spouses, common-law partners, and minor children. Canadians can claim this new, non-refundable tax credit for the first time when filing their 2012 taxes.
- The Medical Expense Tax Credit – In order to fully recognize the medical and disability-related costs incurred by caregivers, the Harper Government has removed the $10,000 limit on the amount of eligible expenses a caregiver can claim in respect of financially dependent relatives.
- The First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit – Assists first-time home buyers with the costs associated with the purchase of a home, such as legal fees. More than 550,000 Canadians have taken advantage of the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit.
- The Children's Fitness Tax Credit – Canadian families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount up to $500 for the cost of registering a child in eligible physical activity programs, such as soccer or hockey teams. For the 2011 tax year, over 1.5 million families took advantage of the Children's Fitness Tax Credit.
- The Hiring Credit for Small Business – Small businesses that meet certain criteria and paid more in Employment Insurance premiums in 2012 over 2011are eligible for the credit, which puts up to $1,000 back into the accounts of job creators. As of September 30, 2012, over $200 million has been credited to over 500,000 eligible employers.
- The Children's Arts Tax Credit – Canadian families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount up to $500 for the cost of registering a child in eligible artistic, cultural, or other programs, such as music lessons or tutoring. Over 460,000 families claimed the Children's Arts Tax Credit in the 2011 tax year.
- The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit – Provides employers with a tax credit of up to 10 per cent of the eligible wages payable to eligible apprentices. The maximum credit an employer can claim is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. For the 2011 tax year, more than 10,000 employers across Canada used the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit.
- The Tradesperson's Tool Deduction – Allows tradespeople to deduct from their income part of the cost of tools purchased throughout the year.
- The Textbook Tax Credit – In order to better recognize the cost of textbooks, this credit provides increased tax relief to students in addition to the Tuition and Education Tax Credits. Students must first claim their credit on their own returns, but may be able to transfer unused amounts to a parent, grandparent, spouse or common-law partner.
- The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) – Gives families with young children more choice in child care by providing $100 per month for each child under age six. Canadians received almost $2.7 billion in UCCB payments in 2011.
- The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) – Allows all Canadians to earn tax-free income through a range of investment products. TFSAs have become increasingly popular, with approximately 8.2 million Canadians having opened an account and roughly 2.5 million Canadians contributing the maximum in 2011. Starting on January 1, 2013, Canadians will be able to contribute $5,500 to their TFSAs annually.
- The Registered Disability Savings Plan – A long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. Since being introduced by the Harper Government in 2008, over 60,000 plans have been opened.
- The Canada Employment Credit (CEC) – A 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $1,095 in employment income, the CEC was introduced by the Harper Government to recognize employees' work expenses for items such as home computers, uniforms and supplies.
- The Public Transit Tax Credit – Allows Canadians to claim the full amount they spend on eligible transit passes for the year. In 2011, more than 1.6 million Canadians claimed this credit.
- The Volunteer Firefighters' Tax Credit – Available to any volunteer firefighter who serves at least 200 hours per year at one or more fire departments in their community. In 2011, more than 37,000 Canadian volunteer firefighters took advantage of this new tax credit.
"Our Government is proud of the tax relief we have put in place over the last number of years to reduce the tax burden on Canadians families and businesses," said Minister Shea. "We encourage all Canadians to claim the credits to which they are entitled when they file their 2012 taxes."
As a direct result of the Harper Government's strong record of providing tax relief to Canadians, the average family of four now receives more than $3,100 in extra tax savings. The federal tax burden for all Canadians is now the lowest it has been in half a century.
For more information on the various tax measures supporting working Canadians and their families, go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/taxsavings/.
The Canada Revenue Agency encourages Canadians to take advantage of its fast, easy, and secure online services to file their tax and benefit returns.