|Improved Tax Support For Family Cargivers
By Nancy Brooker, C.A.
It is an inevitability, something we must all come to terms with … our parents are getting older. My parents are Italian immigrants who still grow all their own organic vegetables in their bountiful garden, walk regularly, and generally have more energy than I can ever hope to have! But I see them slowing down, and it pains my heart. I count my blessings that they are still healthy, but I know this is not the case for everyone.
With an aging population needing support and care, and despite growing work and family demands, it is family members who are stepping up to meet the needs of Canada’s seniors. According to Statistics Canada, in 2007, nearly 70% of care was provided by family members, and 60% of the caregivers were women. The Canadian Caregiver Coalition tells us it is estimated that caregivers contributed more than $5 billion dollars in unpaid labor to our health care system in 2002.
The 2011 federal budget proposes a Family Caregiver Amount to help alleviate at least some of the financial stress of providing “ free” care to a family member. For 2012 and subsequent years, the budget proposes to increase the base amount of the following existing non-refundable (a) credits in cases where the individual is an infirm dependent (b):
- Spouse or common-law partner amount
- Amount of an eligible dependent
- Amount for children under age 18 at the end of the year
- Amount for infirm dependents age 18 or older
- Caregiver amount
This means that if you already qualified for any of these credits, AND your dependent is infirm, you will get an extra $2,000 in credits in each of the categories. The actual amount of the credit you receive will depend on your dependent’s income.
Budget 2011 also proposes to eliminate the $10,000 ceiling on eligible medical expenses that can be claimed in respect of a dependent relative.
This can be a complicated area, but don’t let that stop you from getting the tax credits you deserve. For more information, follow this link www.budget.gc.ca/2011, or speak to your tax advisor.
a) A non-refundable credit is one that will not generate a refund. It can only be applied to taxes owing.
b) An Infirm dependent is dependent on you by reason of mental or physical infirmity. You may be asked for a letter from a medical practitioner to confirm this.