Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit: what is and isn’t eligible
Seniors can now get a $1,500 annual tax credit on up to $10,000 in renovations — such as wheelchair ramps and bathtub grab bars — making their homes safer to live in as they age, keeping them out of long-term care, reports Rob Ferguson of the Toronto Star.
The tax credit, called the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit and passed in the Ontario legislature Oct. 2, is retroactive to last Oct. 1.
It applies to seniors who own or rent as well as to people who share a home with a senior relative, making it more affordable to help seniors stay living in their homes without slips and falls that could send them to hospital or nursing homes for more expensive care, said Health Minister Deb Matthews.
What is it?
According to the provincial ministry website (fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/hhrtc), the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is a refundable Personal Income Tax credit to assist with the cost of permanent home modifications that improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home.
The credit is worth up to $1,500 each year, calculated as 15 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible home-renovation expenses that will help seniors stay safely in their homes. It can also be claimed by senior homeowners and tenants, and people who share a home with a senior relative.
Amounts claimed by couples are subject to a combined maximum of $10,000 in eligible expenses per year. Different family members in a shared home can claim the credit. However, the total amount of the eligible expenses that can be claimed, per year, by all of those family members cannot exceed $10,000.
Those eligible include:
• Seniors (65 years of age or older by the end of the taxation year for which the credit is claimed) who owns or rents their home, or a non-senior who is living with a family member who is a senior
• A landlord renting a home to a senior is not eligible
Some examples of eligible expenses include:
• certain renovations to permit a first-floor occupancy or secondary suite for a senior
• grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower
• handrails in corridors
• wheelchair ramps, stair/wheelchair lifts and elevators
• walk-in bathtubs
• wheel-in showers
• widening passage doors
• lowering existing counters/cupboards
• installing adjustable counters/cupboards
• light switches and electrical outlets placed in accessible locations
• door locks that are easy to operate
• lever handles on doors and taps, instead of knobs
• pull-out shelves under counter to enable work from a seated position
• non-slip flooring in the bathroom
• a hand-held shower on an adjustable rod or high-low mounting brackets
• additional light fixtures throughout the home and exterior entrances
• swing clear hinges on doors to widen doorways
• creation of knee space under the basin to enable use from a seated position (and insulation of any hot-water pipes)
• relocation of tap to front or side for easier access
• hands-free taps
• motion-activated lighting
• touch-and-release drawers and cupboards
• automatic garage door openers
What expenses do not qualify?
The provincial website offers examples of expenses that are ineligible – for example, if their primary purpose is to increase the value of the home or if they are for annual, recurring or routine repair maintenance or service.
Examples of ineligible expenses include:
• general maintenance – such as plumbing or electrical repairs repairs to a roof
• esthetic enhancements such as landscaping or redecorating
• installing new windows or regular flooring
• installing heating or air conditioning systems
• replacing insulation