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ALBAS: Income tax season is upon us

Dan Albas a Member of Parliament.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dan Albas
March 18, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


This week’s report is a reminder that in a little over a month, April 30, the majority of Canadians need to complete and file their 2017 Canada Income Tax returns to avoid potential late penalties.

There are a few changes this year that may be of interest to you and your family.

For those who file paper returns, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be mailing you a 2017 income tax return package. In the event you do not receive one or would like to obtain a paper copy you can call 1-855-330-3305 to request one be mailed to you.

Also, for those who need help preparing their Income Tax Return, CRA offers Income Tax Clinics for those with modest income and simple tax situations. Please visit our website, www.danalbas.com, and click on '2018 Income Tax Clinics' for more information.

Some things to bear in mind as you begin the process; there are several former tax credits available in recent years that have been eliminated by the Liberal Government. Here is a list of the tax credit programs that longer exist:

  • Tuition
  • Education and Textbook
  • Children’s Fitness
  • Children’s Arts
  • Public Transit

Although most of what has often been referred to as “boutique” tax credits were eliminated, the Government did introduce a new specialized tax credit that is available for this taxation year.

Called the “Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply” tax credit, it is primarily for teachers when purchasing classroom materials.

There have also been what I believe, largely positive changes to existing credits. For example, the Canada Caregiver tax credit now streamlines the former Family Caregiver tax credit, and some changes have also been implemented to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Medical Expense Tax Credit programs.

Actual income tax rates for the current year remain unchanged from last year.

As some will know, there have been studies to suggest Canadians are paying more in taxes as a result of the elimination of many family focused tax credits. However, critics of those studies point out that Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program may potentially offset any taxation increases as a result of the elimination of the credits.

Who is correct? In my view, it depends entirely on the situation.

As an example, someone who takes public transit with no children will be adversely impacted with the loss of the Public Transit tax credit. However, depending on their income, a family with three young children, who are not active in sports or arts programs, could come out significantly ahead as a result of the enhanced CCB program

My question this week: Do you feel further ahead this year because of these changes or behind? 

Drop me a line and let me know. I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

— Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.


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