Seven useful Canadian income tax deductions

The 2009 tax season is ending in just another two days, and whether you’ve already filed with CRA or not, here are some interesting and overlooked deductions and credits you might still have time to take advantage of.

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Interest on income producing assets
If you’ve borrowed money to invest or own a rental property, you can claim the interest. It’s something that may be easy to forget, since you can’t claim interest payments on credit cards or your non-income producing property. But if you’re paying the bank every month for an investment loan, you can get a deduction. “You won’t get a slip,” says Courcelles, so make sure you ask the bank for a receipt.

Safety deposit box deductions
This might come as surprise, but you can deduct your safety deposit box expenses. It’s true! Just get a receipt from your financial institution.

Union or professional dues
Those pesky union or professional dues getting to you? You’ll be happy to know they can be deducted too. This only works if your employer is not paying for them, but for many lawyers, chartered accountants and other Canadians with a professional designation, these costs come out of pocket.

Moving expenses
Good for students and workers. If you moved more than 40 km for a new job or school you can deduct those expenses. Everything from renting a U-Haul to hotel and meals are covered.


First Time Home Buyers Credit
Buying a home is stressful and costly, so you may not have been thinking much about tax time when you purchased your new abode. Now that you’re crunching the numbers though, make sure you claim the First Time Home Buyers Credit. As the name suggests, this only applies to Canadians who are buying their first place, and you had to purchase the home after January 28, 2009. You’ll get $750 back with the credit and “you can make as much or as little as you want, as long as you bought a house,” says Courcelles.

Medical expenses
Many Canadians have the misconception that all our healthcare related needs are covered. Not so. We still pay for medicine (if an employer doesn’t cover the full amount), some or all dental costs, extra doctor fees, orthodontists, chiropractors and the list goes on. If your bills exceed 3% if your net income, or $2,011 — whichever is less — you can claim those expenses.

Courcelles says it’s best to pool these expenses onto the lower income spouse’s return, so that 3% will be exceeded quicker than if it was on the higher earner’s return. It’s important to note that you can only claim what you pay yourself. If an employer covers 80% of medical expenses, you can only claim the other 20%.

Eligible dependent credit
This one applies, in most cases, to single parents. If you’re raising family without a partner — whether you’ve been divorced, widowed or are a single parent — you can get this credit. The eligible dependent amount is $10,320 minus the dependent’s income. “If you have a 5-year-old child who has no income you multiply the $10,320 by 15% and that’s your credit,” says Courcelles. This also works for child support payments, and you can claim the credit if your spouse makes less than the eligible dependent amount.