Clarke: “So what’s up for Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) 2017 personal tax preparation?”

Clarke: “So what’s up for Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) 2017 personal tax preparation?”

It’s tax time: So what has changed?

Ron Clarke has his MBA and is a business owner in Trail, providing accounting and tax services

This really is one of the “quietest” tax change years on the personal tax front for the better part of a decade. Good news or bad news? Well at least calm news likely by design, after all the Federal Government took major heat throughout 2017 regarding tax policy changes for business.

So what’s up for Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) 2017 personal tax preparation?

The “Public Transit Pass” deduction as of June 30 disappeared so if you are a regular rider you can claim only the first six months of 2017.

Although at the federal level the “Children’s Arts” and “Fitness” credits are gone for 2017, the BC government introduced them for 2017, albeit the financial impact will be minor given the lower provincial tax rates versus federal tax rates. The $500 maximum claim translates into about $5 to $11 of actual cash in pocket, depending on one’s tax bracket. This begs the question, is it worth tracking down those sports and arts paid receipts?

The post secondary “Education Amount” deduction is gone. This is the automatic calculation for a student’s textbooks and living expenses based on full or part-time studies. The rationale being that more federal money is now going into student grants.

New for 2017 is the “Canada Caregiver Credit”. Well not so much new as recreated. It is the amalgamation of three current convoluted medical credits.

The Disability Tax Credit can now be certified by nurse practitioners, not just MD doctors.

And couples needing “medical intervention to conceive a child” can claim associated medical costs as a T1 medical schedule expense.

New for late tax filers who owe tax, the immediate penalty is rising to 6%, up from 5%, and interest charges for those taxes payable will go from 1% per month to 2%.

Reminder that last year’s tax changes introduced the “Home Accessibility Tax Credit” for those 65 or anyone with a Disability Tax Credit Certificate, or the owner of a home where they reside, for up to $10,000 in renos to improve accessibility and safety. Complimenting this credit is the BC Seniors Home Reno Tax Credit.

Finally, a word about CRA “tax scammers”, and they are getting very convincing.

According to CRA, a taxpayer will never be asked for personal or financial information through an unsolicited text or email, or offer a link or attachment. CRA will never ask for payment using prepaid credit or debit cards, nor bit coins. CRA will never leave personal information on an answering machine. And CRA will never threaten a taxpayer.

If ever in doubt, call CRA directly or, if you have set one up, log directly into your CRA “My Account”.

Ron Clarke has his MBA and is a business owner in Trail, providing accounting and tax services. Email him at ron.clarke@JBSbiz. ca. To read previous Tax Tips & Pits columns visit www.JBSbiz.net.