The proposed Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit would be a new permanent, refundable Personal Income Tax credit to assist with the cost of permanent home modifications that improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home.
The credit would be worth up to $1,500 each year, calculated as 15 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible home renovation expenses that would help seniors stay safely in their homes.
Amounts claimed by couples would be subject to a combined maximum of $10,000 in eligible expenses per year. The $10,000 limit would also apply to claims by different people in respect of the same shared home in a year.
Couples who live in separate homes because of medical necessity or because of a breakdown in their marriage or common-law relationship could each claim up to $10,000 of expenses.
Who is eligible?
You would be eligible if you are a:
- senior (65 years of age or older by the end of the taxation year for which the credit is claimed) who owns or rents your home, or
- a son, daughter or other family member living with an elderly relative.
What expenses would be eligible?
Some examples of eligible expenses would include:
- certain renovations to permit a first-floor occupancy or secondary suite for a senior
- grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower
- hand rails in corridors
- wheelchair ramps, stair/wheelchair lifts and elevators
- walk-in bathtubs
- wheel-in showers
- widening passage doors
- lowering existing counters/cupboards
- installing adjustable counters/cupboards
- light switches and electrical outlets placed in accessible locations
- door locks that are easy to operate
- lever handles on doors and taps, instead of knobs
- pull-out shelves under counter to enable work from a seated position
- non-slip flooring in the bathroom
- a hand-held shower on an adjustable rod or high-low mounting brackets
- additional light fixtures throughout the home and exterior entrances
- swing clear hinges on doors to widen doorways
- creation of knee space under the basin to enable use from a seated position (and insulation of any hot-water pipes)
- relocation of tap to front or side for easier access
- hands-free taps
- motion-activated lighting
- touch-and-release drawers and cupboards
What expenses would not be eligible?
Expenses would not be eligible if their primary purpose were to increase the value of the home. Examples of ineligible expenses would include:
- general maintenance – such as plumbing or electrical repairs
- repairs to a roof
- aesthetic enhancements such as landscaping or redecorating
- installing new windows or regular flooring
- installing heating or air conditioning systems
- replacing insulation
Devices would not be eligible. These include:
- equipment for home medical monitoring
- equipment for home security (anti-burglary)
- vehicles adapted for people with mobility limitations
- side swing ovens and appliances with front located controls
- fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors
Services would not be eligible. These include:
- security or medical monitoring services
- home care services
- housekeeping services
- outdoor maintenance and gardening services
A landlord renting a home to a senior would not be eligible for the credit.
There would be no income test to qualify for this credit.
What would be the eligible period?
Eligible expenses incurred on or after October 1, 2011 would qualify for the credit.
For the 2012 tax year, the $10,000 maximum would apply to expenses paid or payable from October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012.
For 2013 and all subsequent years, the maximum would apply to expenses paid or payable from January 1 to December 31 of the year.