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Ontario Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit: Are You Eligible?

A national survey by March of Dimes Canada found that just 26% of Canadians expect to grow old in their current homes — even though almost 80% would like to. Various home modifications enable people to stay at home in old age despite mobility difficulties or health conditions. However, the cost of installing key fixtures (e.g. wheelchair ramps, stairlifts) can be off-putting for many homeowners.

Seniors on a tight budget may worry about the cost of adjusting their property to accommodate their changing physical needs. Fortunately, Ontario’s Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit offers financial support to help you transform your property to align with your changing needs. But you may not be familiar with this program, or the eligibility criteria.

Total Accessibility Solutions is dedicated to helping people with diverse mobility limitations and disabilities stay safe in their own home. We believe the Ontario Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit is a terrific program, and we’ll take a closer look below to help you understand whether or not you’re eligible.

What is the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit?

The Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit provides you with some flexibility to make your home more accessible and safe. Crucial adjustments to your property could enable you to stay in it for longer, instead of moving into assisted accommodation.

The government announced the program in November 2020. According to CTV News, the plan was created to help seniors remain in their own properties for longer and avoid moving into a Long Term Care facility that may have been “hard-hit” by COVID-19. It’s believed that more than 2,000 people in long-term care homes throughout Ontario lost their lives during the pandemic.

The program is expected to provide around 27,000 Ontario residents with approximately $30 million in support overall.

How Much Does the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit Cover?

According to the official Government of Ontario website, the tax credit is worth 25% of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses on a senior’s main Ontarian residence. Eligible candidates can claim a tax credit of up to $2,500.

That means a household could receive up to $2,500 in a tax credit if they invest $10,000 into improving accessibility in their home. That may include installing grab bars on either side of the toilet to reduce the risk of slippages on wet tiles, or adding a stairlift to aid movement from floor to floor or a combination of modifications.

Stairlifts are a major asset to seniors’ homes. However, they can also assist other members of the household and guests who may have mobility difficulties.

When can You Claim the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit?

The tax credit is issued as a refundable personal income tax credit. Eligible applicants will be able to receive the tax credit whether they owe income taxes for 2021 or not. This will provide peace of mind to Ontario seniors and their families who could benefit from the credit but still owe tax.

Eligible applicants will be able to claim the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit on their Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2021. However, evidence is crucial to show that work has been completed and prove the associated costs.

As a result, you will need to keep receipts from all suppliers or contractors involved in your home renovations. Any friends and family members who help organize the work should be aware of this to avoid misplaced evidence.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit?

People in two categories are eligible for the tax credit:

● Seniors

● Homeowners with seniors relatives living on your property

This may be a parent, grandparent, aunt, or other elderly family member. Research shows that around one in four Canadians over the age of 15 provide care to a relative or friend affected by long-term health issues, disabilities (mental and physical), or age-related problems. Some of these people are sure to qualify for the tax credit.

However, it’s paramount that you confirm your eligibility before you invest in home improvements. That can help you avoid spending more than you necessarily need to under the assumption that you’ll get some of your expenses back later.

It’s also possible for senior couples to claim $10,000 in renovations between them on their income tax returns and still receive the $2,500.

What Expenses Does the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit Cover?

The Government of Ontario website claims that eligible renovations “improve safety and accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home”. Instead of leaving this up to personal interpretation that could lead to misunderstandings, the Government of Ontario provided an extensive list of examples.

These include:

● Installing stairlifts and wheelchair lifts

● Placing wheelchair ramps at external entrances

● Fitting grab bars close to a toilet, bath tub, or shower

● Installing a walk-in bathtub

● Widening passage doors to accommodate wheelchair users

● Adjusting cupboards and counters for easier access

● Fitting light switches and outlets in easier-to-reach positions

● Replacing door locks with more user-friendly fixtures

● Installing non-slip flooring

● Adding extra lighting to aid visibility throughout the home or external entrances

● Moving taps/fixtures for easier access

● Fitting automatic door openers for garages

The majority of accessibility solutions that seniors require appear on this list. However, you may wish to contact the Government of Ontario for clarification before you start planning your home improvements.

How to Start Renovating Your Home to Suit You and Your Loved Ones

If you believe you may be eligible for Ontario’s Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit and want to work with an experienced provider of home accessibility solutions, Total Access Solutions is here to help.

Our services encompass everything you need to improve safety and accessibility at home. We can install a wide range of the latest stairlifts, wheelchair ramps, vehicle lifts, railings, grab bars, and more. We work with trusted brands to ensure the highest quality on every product, and we offer the best warranty in the industry.

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