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Tax Tips for Life’s Major Milestones

Whether you tied the knot, bought your first home or had a baby in 2013, life changes also alter your finances. These joyous milestones often trigger valuable tax credits and deductions. Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst with H&R Block Canada, provides the following breakdown on how your tax return may be impacted.

Tax Tips

  • Starting your career: You may have been dismayed to see how much tax was withheld from your first paycheque, but you may have a tax credit waiting to be claimed. If you were unable to claim all of your tuition and education credits while you were in school and didn’t transfer all of them, they would have carried forward when you filed your return. That means you can use the credits in 2013 to help lower your tax liability.
  • Taking the plunge: Congratulations if you got married in 2013. You should notify the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of your new marital status with an RC65 Form – Change of Marital Status. Spouses file their own tax returns but should include their partner’s SIN and net income on the first page. Household income is used to calculate benefits like the GST/HST amount and Canada Child Tax Benefit, so the amount you receive could be impacted.
  • Buying your first home: First-time home buyers can claim a $5,000 credit, which translates into $750 in tax savings. The credit can be split between a couple if both spouses or common-law partners are first-time homebuyers. There is no specific receipt needed to make this claim, but you should have the paperwork to prove you bought a house in 2013 if the CRA asks. If you borrowed from your RRSP for your down payment, you have two years before the CRA will ask you to start repayments.
  • New baby: Most hospitals provide the information to register your child with the CRA to ensure you start receiving all the new parent benefits.
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit: The monthly payment is determined by household income and is meant to help with the cost of raising a child. This income is not taxable.
  • Universal Child Care Benefit: New parents will receive the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), which provides families with $100 a month per child until the age of six. This income is taxable and must be reported by the lower-income spouse.
  • Child Tax Credit: Parents can claim $2,234 for each child younger than 18. This results in $335 in tax savings per child.
  • Maternity leave: This EI income is taxable and can result in a tax bill at the end of the year.
  • RESP: Deposits into a Registered Education Savings Plan can qualify for a Canadian Education Savings Grant, which provides some matching funds up to 20 per cent of the first $2,500 deposited each year.

If 2013 was a year filled with many life changes, be sure to note this on your tax return this year. If figuring out your tax credits and deductions feels daunting, you may want to consider an online tax preparation software program like H&R Block Tax Software, which will guide you through step-by-step tips to identify every possible deduction or credit, calculates your return as you go, and ensures you get your maximum refund. If you would rather leave it to an expert, you can drop by an H&R Block office where a tax professional will review your previous returns for free.

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Wednesday 16th of April 2014

Great tips Jody, I've done taxes for years and very surprise what people do not know when filing for themselves. Always a good idea to let someone help out or get good software.


Wednesday 16th of April 2014

These are AWESOME tips - thank you! Being new to the country (after a long time away, that is), I have forgotten how much can be deducted as far as milestones and other "everyday" expenses. Thanks for the reminder - right on time!!

Kerrie @ Family Food and Travel

Tuesday 15th of April 2014

Oh Taxes - what a challenge they are! These are great tips and point out the important things you must remember at all stages of your life.

Valerie Doyle

Tuesday 15th of April 2014

thanks for the advice!

Tara Gauthier

Tuesday 15th of April 2014

These are great tips! I always file with software and there are some great free ones available online. I would have likely remembered when went to do my taxes that we bought a house in 2013 but did not have it on my list of things to make sure I claim so thanks for the reminder!