Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC)
Jennifer is age 70, lives in Ontario and is on disability, she owns a house, but the bathroom is the old school type and needs an upgrade since it’s not very accessible for someone with a disability. Jennifer decided to put in a walk-in bathtub to make her life easier, with installation and everything that ended up costing her $8000. With the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) she gets to claim the non-refundable tax credits on this tub and installation. She gets back 15% of her cost, which equals $1200 in her case. Keep reading to find out if you qualify for a Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC).
Renovations that make homes safer or more accessible for seniors or the disabled may qualify for a tax credit. If you are a senior or hold a valid disability tax certificate or are supporting a qualifying individual, up to $10,000 in expenses can be claimed.
Who Qualifies For the HATC?
- Seniors aged 65 years or older, as well as taxpayers who hold a valid DTC, are considered qualified
- Qualified individuals may claim this credit directly
- If you are supporting someone who qualifies directly, you may be entitled to claim this credit on his behalf
- If you claim the amount for an eligible dependant, caregiver amount or amount for infirm dependants age 18 or older for the qualifying person, you may be eligible
Another example, Gerry’s elderly father Simon resides with him and Gerry spent $10,000 installing a wheelchair ramp to make their home more accessible. If Gerry is eligible to claim the caregiver amount for his father, he can claim the ramp expense on his tax return.
What Expenses Qualify?
Generally, if the qualifying renovation allows better accessibility or improves safety and is permanent, it is eligible. Examples of qualified renovations include
- Grab bars and handrails
- Walk-in tubs or wheel-in showers
- Widening doorways for wheelchair accessibility
- Lowering cabinets
Ineligible expenses include
- Household appliances or home-entertainment devices
- Routine maintenance
- Housekeeping costs
How To Claim the HATC
- To claim the HATC on line 398, complete the Schedule 1 HATC Worksheet
- Fill in the dates, types of expense, and names (and GST/HST numbers) of contractors or other tradespeople who performed the renovation
- If you completed the work yourself, you may only claim the expense of supplies – not your own labour
- If a family member performed the renovation, he/she must be registered for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax in order to claim the labour cost. Include this GST/HST number on the Schedule 1 HATC Worksheet along with the family member’s name
As with most expenses, it is not necessary to submit receipts with your tax return although it is important to retain your supporting documents in case CRA requests them.
Double (or Even Triple) Credit
Many accessibility renovations also qualify as medical expenses. You may claim the same expense for both the HATC and as an eligible medical expense if the expense qualifies for both. Some provinces, such as British Columbia and New Brunswick, offer an additional provincial credit. In effect, the same expense can be claimed three times on your tax return.
For example, a senior resident of British Columbia who installs a walk-in tub to improve accessibility may claim three credits. If the expense totals $10,000, it breaks down as:
- $10,000 X 15% = $1,500 federal credit for HATC
- $10,000 X 10% = $1,000 provincial credit for British Columbia Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit
- $10,000 worth of medical expenses (both federal and provincial credits)