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. In addition,
you can deduct any legal fees paid to collect salary or wages.
Home Buyer’s Amount.
You can claim $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home in 2018 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.
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 2018 and did not claim them in 2017. 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.
Canada Caregiver Amount.
This tax credit is available to those caring for a dependent relative. If
the relative is over 18, the credit is $6,986 minus any net income above
the $16,405 threshold for the 2018 tax year. The credit will be zero if the
dependant’s income is $23,391 or more. For dependants under the age of 18,
the credit is $2,182, but is not reduced by income.
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.
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 2018 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 2018 is $8,000 for each child under age six at the end of the
year, and $5,000 for each child over seven and under age 16. The deductions
cannot exceed two thirds of your earned income.
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.
Climate Action Incentive (CAI) Payment.
This is a payment designed to offset the federal carbon tax in
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick. It consists of a basic
amount and a 10% supplement for residents of small and rural communities.
Only one person per family (you or your spouse or common-law partner) can
claim the CAI payment.
You can claim the CAI payment if on Dec. 31, 2018, you lived in one of the
four provinces it applies to, and you were over the age of 18. If you were
younger than 18, you can claim the CAI if you were married or lived common
law, or were a parent living with your child.
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. Contact her directly by
phone at 416-828-7159, or by email at
for a confidential planning consultation.
Notes and Disclaimer
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The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion
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intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without
limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. Please
contact the author to discuss your particular circumstances.