Delean: Keep these deductions and credits in mind for your tax returns

The credit for medical expenses is often underestimated by people on the Quebec income-tax return.

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Quebecers got some welcome tax relief in last week’s provincial budget, but that’s still months from taking effect. Most are still crunching the numbers from 2022, with the tax-filing deadline just five weeks away. Here are some of the deductions and credits to be mindful of as you gather documents for federal and provincial tax returns for 2022.

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Tuition credits: Recent graduates from post-secondary programs often have unused, and forgotten, tuition credits from their years of study. These get carried forward and can significantly reduce taxes once the former students are earning full-time salaries. Your 2021 notice of assessment from Revenu Québec and Canada Revenue Agency should indicate whether you have any tuition credits remaining, so it’s always a good idea to reread last year’s notice before doing your 2022 taxes.

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Medical expenses: People often miss out on this credit because they underestimate their family medical expenses. On the Quebec tax return, the employer contribution to a workplace health plan counts as a medical expense, and it’s often substantial. (You’ll find the sum in Box J of your Relevé 1 tax slip.) The employee portion, which also counts in the provincial calculation, is in box 235 of Relevé 1 (and Box 85 of the federal T4). Add those sums to the uninsured portion of any prescriptions or eyeglasses or dental work, and similar expenses from a spouse if both are working, and it can easily total thousands of dollars. The federal calculation is different because the employer contribution to a health plan does not count as a medical expense, so it’s not unusual to find taxpayers with a medical expense claim on their provincial tax return, but none on the federal return. And if you don’t have a health plan through work, remember the amount you are obliged to pay for the Quebec Prescription Drug Insurance Plan (Schedule K) also is a qualifying medical expense.

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Solidarity tax credit: Landlords are supposed to provide anyone with a residential rental lease in Quebec on Dec. 31 with an RL-31 form by the end of February, but some still don’t. The document is significant, since it can generate payments from the provincial government amounting to several hundred dollars over a 12-month period. The sums vary according to your living situation and income, but individuals earning as much as $58,179 could get something. You’ll need the 15-digit code on the RL-31 form to complete Schedule D (Solidarity Tax Credit) of your provincial tax return. Homeowners also are eligible for the credit. You can be eligible for the credit the year you are 18 on Dec. 31. If you failed to claim the credit in past years, Revenu Québec will allow you to go as far back as the 2019 tax year.

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Deduction for working remotely: The deduction introduced during the pandemic was maintained in 2022 by both Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec for those who worked from home at least four consecutive weeks at some point in the year. You can claim $2 for every day worked at home in 2022 using the flat-rate method, which requires no supporting documents, or use the detailed method where you need to have receipts and an official attestation from your employer on your conditions of employment. Both tax departments require a completed form for the claim. Quebec also wants you to include the employer attestation with your provincial return, while CRA says to keep it on file in case it wants to review it.

Tax credit for home-support services for seniors: Quebecers 70 and older are eligible for a tax credit from the province covering part of their rent or home expenses such as snow removal, nursing services and yard maintenance. This is a refundable credit, so it gets paid out even if you don’t owe any provincial income taxes. (Only one partner per couple can claim it.) You need to complete Schedule J. This is not to be confused with the Senior Assistance Tax Credit, also a refundable tax credit provided by Quebec to lower-income seniors 70 and older.

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Tax credit for career extension: In a province where many people retire in their early 60s, there’s an incentive to stay on past age 60. Quebec provides a tax break of up to $1,650 on the provincial return for those 60 and older if they earn $5,000 or more in employment or self-employment income. (The credit gets downsized once employment income exceeds $36,590.) You’ll need to complete form TP-752, PC-V.

Tax credit for caregivers: Do you live with a relative older than 70? In Quebec, there’a a refundable tax credit available for that, even if the relative doesn’t have an impairment. Complete Schedule H of your provincial return.

Tax credit for children’s activities: Quebec offers a refundable tax credit to parents for qualifying physical, artistic and cultural activities of children five to 16. Keep the receipts in case they ask to see them.

Digital news subscription credit: The federal return entitles you to claim up to $500 of amounts paid for subscriptions to qualifying digital news services, such as online newspapers.

The Montreal Gazette invites reader questions on tax, investment and personal finance matters. If you have a query you’d like addressed, please send it by email to Paul Delean at [email protected].


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