06 Feb 2014

Every year, the Canada Revenue Agency makes changes to the tax laws.

Many times, the changes are simple tweaks. Others can throw real kinks into the process.

But they all change the way we file our income taxes.

For instance, did you know last year the federal government abolished the ability to claim fees paid for a safe-deposit box?

And when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty drops the federal budget next week, we’ll probably face more changes when we file our taxes next year.

In the meantime, we need to pay attention to what’s new for filing our 2013 taxes.

New or improved tax relief measures

Last spring, Flaherty announced several tax relief measures that should lighten the tax burden on many Canadians.

  • First-time donor’s tax credit: First-time donors receive an extra 25 per cent credit for cash donations claimed as a tax credit.
  • Family caregiver tax credit: If you care for a dependant who has a physical or mental impairment, you may now claim up to $2,040 in non-refundable tax credits.
  • Pooled registered pension plan: The PRPP is a new retirement savings option for individuals, including those who are self-employed.
  • Adoption expenses: The period to claim adoption expenses has been extended for adoptions finalized in 2013 and later years.
  • Investment tax credit: Eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit has been extended to flow‑through share agreements entered into before April 1, 2014.
  • Tax-free savings account: The annual TFSA dollar limit increased to $5,500 on January 1, 2013, for the 2013 contribution year, and remains at that amount for the 2014 contribution year.

Do any of these credits and deductions apply to you?

Did you get the bills paid?

Many of the deductions and credits available to Canadians — whether they’re filing as individuals, sole proprietors or as a member of a business partnership — are available only if the payments were completed by December 31, 2013.

Make sure you check these off your list as paid by New Year’s Eve:

  • Medical expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Interest expenses
  • Tuition fees
  • Tax shelter investments
  • Employment expenses (home office travel etc.)
  • Alimony and support payments
  • Investment counsel fees
  • Carrying charges on investments
  • Professional memberships and union dues
  • Charitable donations
  • Certain legal and accounting fees
  • Political contributions
  • RESP contributions

Here to help

A1 Accounting, a Calgary accounting and bookkeeping firm, is here to assist you with your taxes and planning. We specialize in personal taxes and small-business accounting and financial services. Contact one of our tax specialists and we can help you optimize the tax benefits and credits available to self-employed individuals and small businesses.

Fill out our contact form or give us a call at 403-226-8297.