Monday, June 6, 2011

Federal Budget June 6th 2011- Key measures affecting individuals

Finance Minister presented the Federal budget on June 6th 2011. Here is a list of key measures affecting individuals.
  • Children’s Art Tax Credit: The budget proposes a new 15% non-refundable Children’s Art Tax Credit for eligible expenses up to $500. The credit will be available in respect of a child who is under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year who is enrolled in an eligible artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity. This credit will be structured in the same manner as the existing Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. The credit will apply to eligible expenses paid in the 2011 and subsequent taxation years, and will be able to be claimed by either parent, or shared by both parents.
  • Family Caregiver Tax Credit: A Family Caregiver tax credit is proposed for a caregiver of a dependent person who has a mental or physical infirmity. The credit will be integrated into the existing dependency-related credits and will be based on an amount of $2,000. The credit will apply beginning in 2012.
  • Medical Expense Tax Credit cap removal: The Medical Expense Tax Credit in respect of a dependent relative (other than a child who has not reached the age of 18 years before the end of the taxation year) is proposed to be amended to remove the current $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that can be claimed. This measure will apply to the 2011 and subsequent taxation years.
  • Increased Flexibility with Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) allocations: The budget proposes to allow for greater flexibility with respect to the allocation of RESP assets among siblings by expanding the ability to transfer between individual RESPs for siblings, without tax penalties or triggering the repayment of Canada Education Savings Grants, to individuals who are not connected by blood or adoption, such as aunts or uncles. This proposal will apply to asset transfers that occur after 2010.
  • Tuition Tax Credit expansion: The Tuition Tax Credit is proposed to be amended to include certain occupational, trade or professional examination fees and ancillary fees and charges as eligible fees for the credit. This amendment will apply to eligible amounts paid in respect of examinations take in the 2011 and subsequent taxation years.
  • Tuition, Education and Textbook Credits amendment: The Tuition, Education and Textbook Tax Credits, as well as eligibility for Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) from an RESP, are proposed to be amended to accommodate the fact that many programs at foreign universities are based on semesters that are shorter than 13 weeks. The minimum course duration for these purposes is proposed to be reduced from 13 weeks to three consecutive weeks. This amendment will apply with respect to tuition paid for courses taken in the 2011 and subsequent taxation years and to EAPs made after 2010.
  • Changes to RRSP rules to limit abuses: The RRSP rules are proposed to be amended to address certain perceived abuses, a number of which involved accessing RRSP without a corresponding income inclusion. Measures similar to those recently implemented in respect of TFSAs are proposed to be introduced for RRSPs. Subject to certain exceptions, these measures are proposed to apply to transactions occurring and investments acquired after March 22, 2011. (For these purposes investment income earned after March 22, 2010 on previously acquired investments will be considered a transaction occurring after March 22, 2010.)
  • Clarification of Pension Tax Rules for Lump Sum Payments: The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will clarify the application of the pension tax rules with respect to the tax treatment of lump sum amounts received by former employees in lieu of their rights to health and dental coverage from employers who have become insolvent and whose underfunded pension plans were wound up. These amounts will not be treated as income for tax purposes in relation to insolvencies arising before 2012.
  • New Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit: A new 15% non-refundable Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit is introduced. This credit is based on an amount of $3,000 and is proposed to be available to individuals who perform at least 200 hours of volunteer firefighting in a taxation year. Volunteer service hours will not qualify if the firefighter also performs non-volunteer services to a particular fire department. An individual who claims this credit will not be eligible for the current $1,000 tax exemption for honoraria paid in respect of firefighting. This credit will apply to the 2011 and subsequent taxation years.
  • Child Tax Credit modification: Eligibility for the 15% non-refundable Child Tax Credit (based on an indexed amount - $2,131 in 2011) is proposed to be modified to eliminate the restriction that only one credit may be claimed per domestic establishment. This will ensure that where two or more families share a home, each eligible parent will still be entitled to claim the credit. This measure will apply to the 2011 and subsequent taxation years.  
  • Charitable Donations Tax Credit or Deduction clarification: The budget proposes to clarify that the Charitable Donations Tax Credit or Deduction is not available to a taxpayer in respect of the granting of an option to a qualified donee to acquire a property of the taxpayer until such time that the donee acquires the property that is the subject of the option. The taxpayer will be allowed a credit or deduction at that time based on the amount by which the fair market value of the property exceeds the total amount, if any, paid by the donee for the option and the property. This measure will apply in respect of options granted on or after March 22, 2011.  
  • Renewal of Two EI Pilot Projects: The government intends to renew two EI pilot projects for one year. The Working While on Claim pilot project, available across Canada, will allow EI claimants to earn additional money while receiving income support. It will be renewed until August 2012. The Best 14 Weeks pilot project, which allows claimants in 25 regions of higher unemployment to have their EI benefits calculated based on the highest 14 weeks of earnings over the year preceding a claim, will be renewed until June 2012.
Courtesy: Deloitte

1 comment:

YFS said...

I didn't know about some of those tax credits. Thanks for this informative post! I learned something new.