One-time Seniors’ renovation credit up for grabs as tax time looms over us

Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit allows some to claim housing improvements

Tax time is just around the corner, and here’s a tax credit some seniors can take advantage of if renovations are in the works.

The Ontario Government has a one-time credit on the books for 2021, called the Ontario Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit. It is a refundable personal income tax credit that can be claimed by people who turn 65 by the end of 2021 or those who live with a senior relative. It returns 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses, to a maximum of $2,500, for renovations to a senior’s principal residence.

That includes grab bars, wheelchair ramps, walk-in bathtubs, non-slip flooring, and more. Expenses must be paid or payable in 2021 to be eligible.

Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin at Superior Home Health Care

Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin gathered with industry leaders to tout this tax credit on Monday, first announced in December 2020. “This is just a really good reminder for people, as tax season is around the corner, if they’re looking to have their elderly parent or a senior couple that want to do some renovations before they file their receipts, this is the time to do it,” said Khanjin while at Superior Home Health Care in Barrie on Monday afternoon.

Bob Schickedanz, President of Ontario Home Builders’ Association

Bob Schickedanz, President of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, says there are a few benefits to this tax credit. “This program enables individuals to modify their homes, by equipment, to meet their needs to age in place in their homes, and also provides the opportunity for multi-generational homes to be modified. Family can take care of their seniors, their elders, with much love and attention going forward,” he said. “As far as our members are concerned, it provides an opportunity to kick-start the economy and provide opportunities for our renovator members to build and renovate homes, to accommodate seniors in communities right across Ontario.”

Schickedanz points out, as it is a tax credit program, receipts and documentation are required, thus stifling the underground economy and the leakage of tax dollars that comes with it. “For these reasons, we strongly believe that this is a terrific program and should be continued to help support our seniors so they receive the proper care that they deserve,” he concluded.

John Tom, owner of Superior Home Health Care

It appears the demand for seniors-minded home renovations is increasing. “In the last 15 years, we’ve seen our aging-in-place business increased by anywhere from 15% to 35%. Each and every single year. It’s just a fast-growing space,” said John Tom, owner of Superior Home Health Care, who pointed out bathroom renovations are in the highest demand. “The most important thing to do independently and with dignity is to bathe and toilet. In the kitchen, I’m happy if somebody cooks for me, I’m happy if somebody feeds me. But again, there are some things that we know about our clients and the way they want to live.”

Visit the Government of Ontario website for more information on eligibility and how to apply for the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit.