The Canadian government revealed on January 27th, 2009 a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit. This renovation credit will apply to work done on houses, cottages and condominiums owned for personal use, and projects can range from finishing a basement to remodeling a kitchen, to painting, to laying new sod. This home renovation tax credit works as follows: Homeowners can get a 15% tax credit of up to $1,350 for renovations that exceed $1,000 up to a maximum of $10,000 worth of work or materials. The renovations must take place and be completed between January 27, 2009 and January 31, 2010 to be eligible for this credit.
Under this $3-billion program, you may choose to hire a contractor or to do the work yourself. However, contractors must be registered for the GST so you cannot hire friends or family members. The Canadian government estimates that over 4 million families will take advantage and benefit from this tax credit.
The Home Renovation Tax Credit was created to encourage Canadians to spend now to help create jobs in industries typically hurt by an economic downturn.
"These measures to support home construction and renovation will help stimulate our construction and building-supplies industries," Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty home improvement said in his speech.
The tax credit will apply to a variety of home improvements, such as renovating a kitchen, bathroom or basement, new carpet or hardwood floors, building an addition, deck, or fence, installing a new furnace, painting the inside or outside of a house, or laying new sod. Expenses such as building permits, professional services, and equipment rentals are also eligible.
The cost of purchasing furniture, appliances, electronics, or construction equipment do not apply. Routine repairs and maintenance will also not be eligible for the credit.
Remember that the Home Renovation Tax Credit can be used in conjunction with other government renovation programs. For example, if you plan on making your home more energy-efficient, you may qualify for grants of up to $5,000 under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program. In addition to this $5,000 grant, you will still be able to claim these renovations under the Home Renovation Tax Credit. The same is true for eligible expenditures that are claimed under the Medical Expense Tax Credit.
Here are some tips if you plan on hiring a contractor to do the renovations for you. Please make sure that your contractor is licensed and ask them to show you their license. Ask for references. A good contractor will be happy to provide you with a list of references as well as pictures showing the type of work they have done in the past. Get more than one quote and get them in writing. The quotes should outline exactly what will be done and how long it will take. Just remember that the lowest quote may not be the best. This contractor may be cutting corners. Ask to see the contractor's certificate of insurance. A standard insurance would cover worker compensation and third-party liability for everyone on the job as well as damage they may cause. If the contractor does not have insurance, you may be held liable if case of an accident.
Happy 2009 renovations!