– You’re absolutely right. There are in fact some 94 personal tax
deductions and credits available, and not all apply to everyone. Many are
indeed often overlooked, even if they do apply. Here’s a rundown of the
most commonly missed credits and deductions. Consult with your tax preparer
to see if they apply to you.
Medical expense deductions.
You may claim only eligible medical expenses if you or your spouse or
common-law partner paid for the medical expenses in any 12-month period
ending in 2017 and did not claim them in 2016. Generally, you can claim all
amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada. You can find a list of
common medical expenses at the CRA website.
Annual union, professional, and other dues.
This one is often overlooked because the amounts may be withheld from your
pay or may be paid as an automatic withdrawal. But they can add up. The CRA
lists the following amounts you can claim if they related to your
employment and if you paid them yourself in the year or if they were paid
for you and reported as income:
* Annual dues for membership in a trade union or an association of public
* Professional board dues required under provincial or territorial law.
* Professional or malpractice liability insurance premiums or professional
membership dues required to keep a professional status recognized by law.
* Parity or advisory committee (or similar body) dues required under
provincial or territorial law.
Note, though, that initiation fees, licences, special assessments, or
charges for anything other than the organization's ordinary operating costs
do not count as annual membership dues. Neither do pension plan premiums,
even though they may be shown on your annual slips as dues.
You can claim eligible moving expenses if you moved to a new location for
employment or business purposes, or you moved to attend college or
university as a full-time student. To be eligible for the deduction, your
new home must be at least 40 kilometres (by the shortest usual public
route) closer to your new work or school than you were before.
Interest on student loans.
Interest paid on your student loan in 2017 or the previous five years may
be claimed as a credit by you or a related person. If you have no tax
payable for the year, you can carry the interest forward for five years and
claim it when you do have tax payable.
are deductible from income where one or both parents are working or where
one spouse is attending school for all or part of the tax year. Childcare
expenses can include daycare fees, boarding school, hockey school, or
summer camp fees. The maximum you’re allowed to claim under the childcare
deduction in 2017 is $8,000 for each child under six at the end of the
year, and $5,000 for each child over seven and under 16. The deductions
cannot exceed two thirds of your earned income.
You can deduct certain expenses (including any GST/HST) you paid to earn
employment income, but only if you were required to pay expenses under the
terms of your contract, did not receive an allowance for them, or if an
allowance was included in your income. This deduction typically will not
apply to most employees, and you cannot deduct the cost of travel to and
from work or any other expenses, including tools and clothing.
However, the Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction lets employed tradespeople
deduct the cost of eligible new tools over $1,178 purchased in 2017 to earn
employment income as a tradesperson and as an eligible apprentice mechanic.
A maximum claim of $500 applies.
Home Buyer’s Amount.
You can claim $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home in 2017 if you
or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home and you did
not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner
in the year you bought the home or in any of the four preceding years
(first-time home buyer). The maximum tax savings generated by the
non-refundable tax credit will be up to $750 (that is, $5,000 x 15%). This
is also available to existing homeowners who qualify for the Disability Tax
Credit and who purchase a more accessible home.
A qualifying home must be properly registered and must be located in
Canada. Both existing homes and homes under construction qualify, and
include single and semi-detached family houses, townhouses, mobile homes,
condominiums, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or
Certain kinds of legal fees can be claimed. These include fees paid to
respond to or object to or appeal a CRA assessment, legal fees paid to
collect a retiring allowance or pension benefit, and fees incurred to try
to make child support payments non-taxable. You cannot claim fees you paid
to get a separation, divorce, or establish custody of or visitation
arrangements for a child.
Transferring tuition, education, and textbook amounts.
The education and textbook credit was eliminated as of Jan. 1, 2017;
however, you can carry forward unused amounts. The tuition credit is still
applicable. If there is any amount remaining after a student reduced their
own tax owing, they may transfer it a parent, grandparent, spouse, or
common-law partner. Note that amounts for transfer cannot be carried
forward from previous years and cannot exceed $5,000, less the amount the
student used to reduce their own tax owing. Only one person can claim this
transfer from the student, and it can be a different person each year.
As always, each person’s tax situation differs, and not everyone can claim
every deduction or credit. See your financial advisor for more information
on which deductions and credits you may be able to use to cut your tax
Robyn Thompson, CFP, CIM, FCSI, is the founder of
Castlemark Wealth Management, a boutique financial advisory firm specializing in wealth management
for high net worth individuals and families. She is also listed as a
MoneySense Approved Financial Advisor. Contact her directly by phone at 416-828-7159, or by email at
for a confidential planning consultation.
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