If your home project to-do list includes safety and accessibility improvements, be sure to save your receipts! If those upgrades are eligible, they could qualify for up to $10,000 in tax credits through Canada’s Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC).
Individuals who are 65 years of age or older at the end of a year, or who are eligible for the disability tax credit, can claim Home Accessibility Expenses on their Canada Revenue Agency tax return. In addition, there are other circumstances, such as if you are the spouse or common-law partner of a qualifying individual or have claimed them as an eligible dependent, where the claim can be made on their behalf.
Which types of dwellings are eligible?
To be eligible for the tax credit, the house where the safety or accessibility improvements are made must be owned and ordinarily inhabited by the qualifying individual. If you move over the course of the tax year, you may can make claims on more than one eligible dwelling, but the total eligible expenses cannot exceed $10,000.
What types of renovations or expenses are eligible?
To qualify for the tax credit, the renovation must be of an enduring nature and be integral to the dwelling. This may include accessibility improvements to the land that is part of the house. The renovation must:
- Allow the qualifying individual to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within, the dwelling
- Reduce the risk of harm to the qualifying individual within the dwelling or in gaining access to the dwelling
Generally, items that are purchased that do not become a permanent part of your dwelling are not eligible. In terms of eligible expenses, they must be for work performed and good acquired for the qualifying improvement that tax year.
Can I perform the work myself?
If you choose to do the work yourself, keep in mind that the value of your labour and tools cannot be claimed as an expense. Expenses that can claim include:
- Building materials
- Equipment rentals
- Building plans
If you choose to have a family member perform the work, the expenses for the goods purchased or services provided are not eligible for the Home Accessibility Tax Credit unless that person is registered for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) under the Excise Tax Act.
If you have work performed by professionals, like our team at Niagara Wheelchairs Seating Mobility, it should be eligible to claim under the Home Accessibility Tax Credit.
What expenses are not eligible?
Keep in mind, no matter who performs the work, the following expenses are not eligible for the HATC:
- Amounts paid to acquire a property that can be used independently of the qualifying renovation
- The cost of annual, recurring, or routine repair or maintenance
- Amount paid to buy household appliances
- Amount paid to buy electronic home-entertainment devices
- The cost of housekeeping, security monitoring, gardening, outdoor maintenance, or similar services
- Financing costs for the qualifying renovation
- The cost of renovation incurred mainly to increase or maintain the value of the dwelling
Are there other tax credits that my home accessibility may be eligible for?
In some cases, the home accessibility improvements you make may also qualify as a medical expense. This means you may be able to claim the expense as both a medical expense and a home accessibility expense. Eligible medical expenses include:
- Bathroom aids to help a person get in or out of a bathtub or shower or to get on or off a toilet (a prescription is needed)
- Chair – power-operated guided chair to be used in a stairway, including installation (a prescription is needed)
- Driveway access – reasonable amounts paid to alter the driveway of the main place of residence of a person who has a severe and prolonged mobility impairment, to ease access to a bus.
- Lift or transportation equipment (power-operated) designed only to be used by a person with a disability to help them access different areas of a building, enter or leave a vehicle, or place a wheelchair on or in a vehicle – prescription needed.
- Renovation or construction expenses – amounts paid for changes that give a person access to (or greater mobility or functioning within) their home because they have a severe and prolonged mobility impairment or lack normal physical development. Costs could include expenses such as:
- Buying and installing outdoor or indoor ramps if the person cannot use stairs
- Enlarging halls and doorways to give the person access to the various rooms of their home
- Lowering kitchen or bathroom cabinets so the person can use them
For a complete list of eligible medical expenses, visit this section of the CRA website.
What documentation should I keep if I want to claim my renovation expenses?
As you complete eligible home accessibility improvements around your home, be sure to keep track of details and documentation to support your tax claim. This includes all agreements, invoices, and receipts. Your documentation must clearly identify the type and quantity of goods bought or services provided, including, but not limited to, the following information, as applicable:
- Information that clearly identifies the vendor/contractor, their business address, and, if applicable, their GST/HST registration number
- A description of the goods and the date when they were bought
- The date when the goods were delivered (keep your delivery slip as proof) or when the work or services were performed
- A description of the work done, including the address where it was done
- The amount of the invoice
- Proof of payment in full, such as a credit card slip or cancelled cheque
- If you live in co-op housing or a condo, a statement from your housing corporation signed by an authorized individual identifying:
- The amounts incurred for the renovation or the alteration work
- As a condominium owner, your part of these expenses if the work is done for common areas
- Information that clearly identifies the vendor/contractor, their business address and, if applicable, their GST/HST registration number
- A description of the work done or services performed and the dates when the work was done or the services were performed
Niagara Wheelchairs Seating Mobility is here to help
At Niagara Wheelchairs Seating Mobility, our Mobility Specialists take the time to personally assist you in evaluating all available tax credit and external funding opportunities for your home accessibility improvements. Book a free, no obligation mobility assessment at your home to learn more about how Niagara Wheelchairs Seating Mobility can assist with you with accessibility improvements including:
- Lifts for stairs, porches, bathtubs and beds
- Interior and exterior ramps
- Automatic doors
- Railings and grab bars
- Bathroom Safety Products, including safety grab bars, commodes, toilet and shower seats, hand-held showers, no-slip bath mats
- Bedroom Safety Products, including therapeutic mattresses, manual and automatic beds, bed rails and security poles
Book an in-home assessment by calling the Niagara Wheelchairs Seating Mobility office at 289.786.0088
Please note: This article is intended for general knowledge only and should not be considered as financial or tax advice or guidance. For complete information, please refer to the Canada Revenue Agency website and for further personal financial guidance, please speak with your personal tax professional, accountant or financial advisor.