Senior Scene March 14, 2016

It is the time of year we have all been waiting for – the time when we blow the dust off that box of receipts and sit down to sort them into reasonable piles of meaningful information so we can file our income taxes like good Canadians. No one likes to pay more taxes than necessary, so it is important to be aware of all the tax credits a senior may be eligible for in order to maximize your deductions. Here are a few of the tax credits a senior can claim for 2015.


    • The age amount credit is available for anyone who was 65 or older at the end of the tax year you are filing. The amount is based on income with the ceiling being slightly more than $80,000.
    • The pension income amount can be up to $2000 if you are receiving Canada Pension Plan, a private pension, annuity income, superannuation or payments from an RRSP or RIF.
    • Medical expenses that are not reimbursed through a group plan if they exceed 3 percent of your income or $2208. The CRA allows for a wide range of eligible medical expenses, healthcare services, travel expenses, home renovations, drugs, dental services, therapeutic procedures, attendant services, and health insurance to name a few. You must be able to provide receipts and letters of authorization if necessary for everything except travel costs. You are permitted to claim the expenses related to any 12 month period ending in 2015 if you did not claim the expenses in a prior year.
    • Travel expenses are permitted for medical trips exceeding 40 km each way and food and costs can be included if the trip exceeds 80 km each way. There are two methods of acceptable calculation for travel and meal expenses so you might want to determine if the simplistic or detailed version best suits your needs.
    • A Disability tax credit certificate may be obtained from your healthcare provider that would entitle you to an additional credit if you meet the criteria described as significant, prolonged, debilitating, etc.
    • You may be eligible for a Family Caregiver credit if your healthcare provider provides documentation showing you have a dependent with impairment in physical or mental function that you are providing care for.
  • Another option to keep in mind when you are preparing your tax return is claiming your common-in-law or spouse if they have a lower income. A couple is also allowed to transfer tax credits once the initial tax liability is reduced to $0. You can also opt to split pension income in order to keep both parties in a lower tax bracket.



If you need assistance with the preparation of your tax return, Pensioners Concerned is a group of trained volunteers who are happy to help folks with an income of $25000 or less for a single person, or $35000 or less for a couple. They are located in the Bay View Mall and are currently open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary.


Remember, you must file a tax return in order to continue to receive your Trillium benefits, qualify for the Ontario Energy Support Program, and Guaranteed Income Supplement. Procrastination is no excuse when your funds cease to flow in July.