9 homeowner tax credits you should know about this tax season

This tax season, invest some time to learn how to keep more of your money in your own pocket. These nine homeowners' tax credits are a great start.

When Canadians think of the perks of owning a home, homeowners' tax credits might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But homeownership could mean qualifying for tax credits, rebates, or benefits that can put cash in your pocket — cash that can go toward savings, paying down debt, or wherever else you need it.

This tax season, consider investing some time and effort into researching homeowners' tax breaks. If you're eligible for any of the following nine, you could save money on your tax bill.

1. First-time home buyers' tax credit

If you just bought your first home last year, or if you haven't lived in a home owned by you or your spouse in the last four years, then you might qualify for the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC) of $5,000, which adds $750 to your tax refund. Before you prepare your return this tax season, look into the home buyers' amount and what to claim. If you qualify, those extra tax savings might come in handy as you run into unexpected new-home expenses.

2. Home buyers' plan

If you and/or your spouse or common-law spouse are a resident of Canada with qualifying Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions, one or both of you might be eligible for a tax-free withdrawal toward buying your first home. Under the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP), first-time home buyers or previous homeowners who haven't owned a home within the preceding four years can withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free to use toward a down payment on a home.

There is one thing to keep in mind: you have to 'repay' the borrowed amount via RRSP contributions within 15 years, and if withdrawals under the HBP aren't paid back, they'll become taxable. Learn what's involved at the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Home Buyers' Plan page.

3. GST/HST new housing rebate

Did you pay a Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on a home that was newly built or substantially renovated? You might be able to take advantage of a new housing rebate on part of the tax.

4. Home buyers' tax credit for people with disabilities

If either you or your spouse or common-law partner meets the CRA eligibility requirements for a person with disabilities, you may be able to enjoy the Home Buyers' Tax Credit even if you aren't a first-time home buyer.

5. Home accessibility tax credit

If you meet one of the following three criteria, the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) could help you save taxes on an eligible renovation costing up to $10,000:

  • You're homeowner and you qualify for the disability tax credit
  • You're eligible to make a claim for a qualifying individual
  • You're over 65 years old

The renovations have to be permanent, make the home more accessible or reduce the potential harm to the qualifying individual, and be completed by qualified professional tradespeople.

6. Medical expenses tax credit

The medical expenses tax credit shares some similarities with the HATC: you can claim up to a certain amount in order to make your home accessible for yourself or qualified dependents who have issues with mobility. If you qualify, your tax credit refund could be as much as 25 percent of eligible medical expenses up to a predetermined amount set for the year.

7. Rental income deductions

Do you own real estate (including farmland) that you rent out? If so, don't forget to declare your rental income on your taxes. You could claim allowable expenses such as advertising fees, property taxes, insurance, and interest on money you borrowed to purchase or renovate the rental property.

You could also claim Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) as a deduction on renovations to your rental property as a depreciating asset. Note, though, that while you can claim the renovation costs in the year they're completed, when you sell the property you might end up paying taxes on the value of the CCA claims via capital gains. Because of this, you'll want to exercise care when writing off anything related to renovating your rental property.

8. Deductions from moving for work or school

When you move more than 40 kilometres away to attend school full time, launch a new business, or take a new job, your moving expenses could be tax-deductible. Moving company bills, hotel bills, and legal fees are just a few of the possible eligible moving costs you could claim.

9. Homeowner tax credits when you work from home

If you work remotely, these credits might come in handy this tax season. Eligible homeowners could be self-employed, working on commission, or even professionals working from a home office. Typical eligible home office expenses could include a portion of your utility bills, homeowners' insurance, internet bills, office supplies, and so much more.

When you're offered money to help you build a strong foundation for your life, why wouldn't you accept it? Taking the time to investigate which homeowners' tax credits you qualify for this tax season could help you keep more of your money in your own pocket. Now you just have to figure out what you're going to do with it.