Changes to the tax credits

A new tax season is upon us! As the 2017 tax slips are arriving, people start thinking about preparing their personal tax returns. However, a new taxation year starts with tax changes.

Credits eliminated

The Government had eliminated a number of personal tax credits:

Education and textbook tax credits

Starting 2017, the federal education and textbook amounts have been eliminated. The education amount was based on each month in the calendar year the student was enrolled at a designated educational institution. The textbook tax credit was based on a formula for each month the student was eligible to claim the education amount. Any unused federal education and textbook amounts from 2016 can still be carried forward to subsequent taxation years.

Children’s fitness and the children’s arts tax credit

The credits were reduced by 50% for 2016, and have been eliminated in 2017.

Public transit tax credit

This tax credit was eliminated on July 1, 2017. The taxpayers can claim the cost of monthly public transit passes for the six months period to June 30, 2017.


Medical expense tax credit (METC)

Eligible expenses for METC were updated to include costs related to reproductive technology use, even where treatment is not on account of medical infertility. Eligible expenses incurred in previous years 10 years can still be claimed. The list of treatments eligible for the METC can be found on the CRA's website.

Disability tax credit

Nurse practitioners have been added to the list of medical professionals who may certify eligibility of a person for the disability tax credit.

Canada caregiver amount (CCA)

The CCA is a new non-refundable tax credit, a consolidation of three credits available in previous years:

- credit for infirm dependants age 18 or older

- caregiver credit

- family caregiver credit.

Principal residence exemption reporting

If taxpayers disposed of their principal residence in 2017, the disposition is reported on Schedule 3 of the income tax return. For dispositions in 2017 and subsequent years, they need to complete Form T2091 (IND), Designation of a Property as a Principal Residence by an Individual (Other Than a Personal Trust). Only Page 1 of Form T2091 is required if the property was the taxpayer's principal residence for all the years, or for all but one year. This new reporting requirement applies for deemed dispositions of a principal residence as well, including dispositions arising because of a change in use.

Tuition tax credit

The expenses eligible to be claimed for the federal tuition credit have been expanded to include fees for an individual’s tuition paid to a university, college or other post-secondary institution in Canada for occupational skills courses not offered at the post-secondary level.

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