New tax credit to help seniors live at home longer

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The Ontario Government is introducing a new tax credit to enable seniors to remain at home longer by making their homes more accessible through a new proposed Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for the 2021 taxation year. According to the government statement, under the measure, seniors, and family members they live with, would receive a 25% credit on eligible renovations of up to $10,000 to make their homes safer and more accessible.

The new proposed personal income tax credit would support seniors, regardless of their income and whether they owe income tax for 2021. As an example, the government will provide a senior, or a family member living with a senior, a maximum of $2,500 back for a $10,000 renovation to make their home safer. And examples of the kind of expenses which would qualify for this tax credit include grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower, wheelchair ramps, stair lifts and elevators. The tax credit would also be available for renovations to permit first floor occupancy or a secondary suite for a senior.

The Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit would cost about $30 million and benefit about 27,000 people across Ontario, including seniors and people who live with senior relatives. To claim the tax credit, seniors or their family members should get receipts from suppliers and contractors for work paid for in 2021.

In responding to the terrible toll on seniors by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is also funding a number of programs for seniors specifically. The Inclusive Community Grants Program gives municipalities, local governments, community organizations, and Indigenous groups up to $60,000 for local accessible and age-friendly projects.

The 2020-21 Seniors Community Grant Program is designed to help non-profit organizations, local services boards, and Indigenous groups develop programs to keep seniors engaged, reduce isolation, promote well-being, and lower the risk of abuse and fraud. And the Ontario Community Support Program works with local volunteer organizations to deliver meals, medicine, and other essentials to low-income seniors and people with disabilities, and has so far delivered nearly 490,000 meals, food hampers, and essential supplies to vulnerable individuals since April 2020.

In his comments on the new tax credit program, local M.P.P., Steve Clark noted that: “This is an additional measure that will help tens of thousands of seniors stay in their homes longer. Providing this tax credit for home renovations is also good news for our local businesses as our economy continues to recover from the pandemic.”

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