5 Changes You Need To Know Before Filing Your Income Tax
Tax season is approaching and tax slips for 2017 will begin to roll in. With tax laws changing as quickly as your professional and personal circumstances, it’s easy to make mistakes that can end up costing you more in the end. As you start to collect your tax slips and prepare to file your return, note the tax law changes that may affect your filing this year.

 

National Transit Tax Credit

 
On June 30, 2017 the government announced the elimination of the public transit amount, citing that the credit wasn’t effective enough in encouraging public using public transit and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of the individual tax credit, the government has announced that it will invest $20 billion over the next 11 years to improve transit across Canada. Though the credit ended mid-year, you can still claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit for transit passes purchased between January 1 and June 30, 2016 on your 2017 income tax and maximize your return.

Small Business Tax Changes

 
Good news for small business owners! The government recently lowered the small business tax rate to 10 per cent, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and intends to lower it even further, down to 9 per cent, by Jan. 1, 2019.

Military Credit

 
In recognition of the commitment and sacrifice made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces, it was announced that military salaries of all deployed Canadian Armed Forces personnel would be exempt from federal income tax.

Benefits for Families

 
The bad news: the Children’s Fitness and Arts Tax Credit and the additional amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit will no longer be available for the upcoming tax season. In previous years, parents and guardians were eligible to receive credits for such activities as art classes, piano lessons, hockey and soccer.

Now, some more of the good news: In 2018, the Canada Child Benefit will increase 1.5 percent starting July 2018 benefits. This means an additional $80 annually per child for those who qualify for Canada Child Tax Benefit, and $41 annual increase for those who qualify for the Child Disability Benefit.

Expanding your family? This year, during the federal budget, the government also announced a new tax break for those who have used assisted reproductive technologies over the past 10 years. Just be sure to keep your receipts if claiming these expenses.

Education

 
Students, take note: on Jan. 1, 2017, the federal government eliminated the federal education textbook and tax credits, meaning that 2016 was the last year in which the students could make these claims. Some provinces are also following the suit, including Ontario, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, which are also eliminating the credit for tuition fees.

Fortunately, the federal credit for tuition fees continues, and students will still be able to carry forward any unused education/textbook amounts from previous years.

It is important to stay current on the new tax law changes in order to understand if these laws affect you and file accordingly.