Seniors Get Tax Break In Home Development

Tim Watt  |  July 1, 2015
Tax Breaks May Help Seniors Get Home Improvement

Seniors, rejoice! Whether you live in an assisted living facility or you're living independently in Canada, you'll be getting a major price cut for home renovations thanks to recent tax breaks.

The Canadian Home Builder's Association has recently been fighting for better budgeting to support affordable housing for seniors. Well, the federal government listened and made an announcement on tax breaks on April 21. They introduced the home accessibility tax credit and the public transit fund to ensure that housing is budget-friendly for older adults. The organization was delighted by the news and thanked the government for recognizing a blatant need. Many older adults in senior communities are unable to afford the necessary renovations to keep their home safe and accessible as they age. For instance, some homeowners may need to put in ramps, add safety bars in the home or move the bedroom to the first floor. With these tax breaks, now older adults will have the chance to make those changes.  

Making necessary improvements
Kevin Lee, chief executive of the national association, believes it could help protect older adults from fraud. 

"We are very pleased to see this targeted home renovation tax credit that will not only help seniors make necessary changes to their homes, but by requiring receipts will help protect them from poor — sometimes dangerous — workmanship, and outright fraud by cash operators," he stated in an interview with the London Free Press.

In order for seniors to get these tax breaks, they will need to ask for a receipt of the work done. These receipts will help prevent an underground economy from developing.

"A receipt keeps both the contract value and the revenues in the legitimate economy," Jane Morgan, president of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, said. "This measure protects legitimate businesses and will also contribute to adapting and sustaining Canada's housing stock as an asset for the future."

The association also noted that the government's efforts indicate a desire to support Canadian infrastructure, which is crucial for maintaining a good economy. Part of that infrastructure is transit projects, which the association believes helps the community as a whole. Currently, the residential construction industry gives at least $5 million in home development to Canadian infrastructure each year. 

Lowering taxes will also help young, low-income families own their homes, Morgan noted.

"We all want families to have appropriate housing choices, at a price they can manage" she said to the London Free Press. "Owning a home remains the central aspiration of young people as they achieve financial independence and a home still serves as the core financial asset of most Canadian families today."

Fighting for a cause
In essence, the Canadian Home Builder's Association helps defend the little guys. Their slogan is "the voice of Canada's residential construction industry", according to the organization's website. As a whole, the association represents more than 8,500 member firms throughout Canada. They also have a considerable effect on the Canadian economy, Lee stated.

"We directly and indirectly support more than 900,000 jobs, paying more than $50 billion in wages," he noted to the news publication. "We generate $125 billion in economic activity each year, and provide over $30 billion in federal and provincial revenues each year."

While they address many issues in the housing industry, one of the areas they care about the most is taxation reform. As the community representative, they address any social and environmental concerns that people have. 

As of late, one of those issues was protecting and developing residential homes for older adults. For the upcoming year, seniors can get up to $1,500 in home accessibility tax credit, the Toronto Star reported. That isn't the only credit older adults can use for housing. The federal government will allow the non-refundable income tax credit to apply on up to $10,000 in home renovation costs.