Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end – Robin Sharma

There has been a lot of commotion this year with changes proposed by our government on both personal and corporate fronts. The information below will address the personal tax changes you can expect to affect you this year.


What’s new this year?


Canada Caregiver Amount

This is a new credit that replaces or consolidates the Family Caregiver Amount, Infirm Dependent Credit, and the Caregiver Amount. This new consolidated credit will provide for two base amounts of $2,150 or $6,883. The credit starts eroding when the income of the cared person reaches $16,163 and is fully gone at $23,046. Previously, most of these credits were eroded at $14,000. The primary two differences between the new consolidated credit and the prior credit are:

  1. The dependent will not be required to live with the caregiver
  2. The dependent is now required to be infirm

While most claims will be unchanged or increased, the new claim will not allow for non-infirm seniors that live with their adult children. A signed statement from a doctor will be needed as support for the infirm person.


Mandatory Repatriation Rule (U.S.)

This includes a one-time tax on income generated by any Canadian corporation that is controlled by U.S. persons and any Canadian corporation with a U.S. domestic corporation owning directly or indirectly at least 10% of this Canadian corporation’s voting stock. The tax rate generally ranges from 8% to 15.5%. This will apply to any U.S. citizen that owns a corporation in Canada. Note that the American taxpayer will not be able to claim a deduction of this tax on the Canadian return.

U.S./Canadian combined taxes have always been a very specialized area that you should avoid to work through by yourself. If you are an American citizen and are running a business or own voting shares on a corporation, please contact your RLB Advisor for guidance.


Bitcoin (Digital Currency)

This could be a new transaction for you this year that you may not have known you had to declare, and you may be unsure of where to begin. If you bought/sold digital currency in 2017, you will need to decide if the resulting gain/loss could be taxable income or capital. There is also a risk of failing to file form T1135 if this foreign investment is higher than $100,000. This can be a confusing transaction and penalties for failing to file T1135 can be significant. Please contact your RLB Advisor for guidance.


What’s still available?


Medical Expenses

Individuals who need medical intervention to conceive a child are eligible to claim the same expenses as individuals with medical infertility. You can also request an adjustment to claim such medical expenses on any income tax return for the 10 previous calendar years. Be sure to discuss your medical expenses with your RLB Advisor to take advantage of claiming all that is possible to claim.


Donations and Gifts

A gift of ecologically sensitive land cannot be made to a private foundation after March 21, 2017. There are also a number of changes to the Ecological Gifts Program.


Public Transit Amount

As of July 1, 2017, this amount has been eliminated. Claims can only be made in respect of eligible travel on public transit for the period of January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017. However, now there is a new Ontario Senior’s Public Transit Tax Credit for those aged 65 and up. Eligible transit expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2017 can be claimed for the credit. You will be able to claim up to $1,500 in transit expenses and receive up to $225 for 2017 (you will be able to claim up to $3,000 starting in 2018).


Disability Tax Credit

To qualify for this credit, you will still need form T2201 to be completed, certified, and submitted. Effective March 22, 2017, a nurse practitioner (prior was only a doctor) can now also certify eligibility for the disability tax credit for all types of impairments.


Principal Residence

No changes on the fact that you need to disclose the disposal of a principal residence (do not forget deem dispositions for change in use), but a new reporting form is now required to be filed (T2091). Last year T2091 was only required if you were claiming less of 100% of the exemption.


What’s been eliminated?


Tuition and Textbook Amount

  • Federal: The federal Education and Textbook amounts have been eliminated for 2017. Unused amount can continue to be carried forward to be used in the future. Federal Tuition Tax Credit has been improved to include fees paid for occupational skills courses that are not post-secondary (i.e. Learning a second language or in basic literacy and numeracy).
  • Ontario: Both the provincial Tuition and the Education/Textbook credit have been eliminated, but can still be claimed for tuition paid up to September 4, 2017.
  • Scholarships and bursaries for such programs will now qualify for exemption. This applies for courses taken after 2016.


Children’s Arts Amount & Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

As of January 1, 2017, these two amounts have been eliminated.


Home Relocation Loan Deduction

If you received an interest-free or low-interest loan, you would have had an income inclusion for the taxable benefit. You could also have had a tax deduction depending on some conditions and base on a formula or other methods. This deduction would have been shown in box 37 of your T4. The deduction is only available for the first five years of the loan.

For 2018 and later years, this deduction has been eliminated.


First-time Donor’s Super Tax Credit

2017 will be the last year for this credit.


Home Accessibility Tax Credit

The Federal credit is unchanged but the Ontario equivalent Ontario Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit has been eliminated now (2016 was its last year).


Investment Tax Credit

As of March 22, 2017, expenses for the creation of childcare spaces are no longer eligible for the investment tax credit. Eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit has been extended to flow-through share agreements entered into before April 2018.


Labour – Sponsored Funds Tax Credit

The LSVCC tax credit for solely federally registered LSVCC has been eliminated effective 2017. If the first registered holder of the share is an RRSP for a spouse or common-law partner, the RRSP contributor or the annuitant (recipient) can claim this credit for that share. The tax credit for provincially registered LSVCC can still be claimed on lines 413 and 414.


For more information on the 2017 tax changes, click here!


We know that these changes may be overwhelming. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your RLB Advisor at 1-866-822-9992. We can help make these changes “gorgeous at the end” for you!