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HME Welcomes Government Financial Aid for Home Modifications

Posted December 18, 2015

 The B.C. Senior’s Home Renovation Tax Credit

(December 16, 2015: RICHMOND) – HME Mobility and Accessibility is pleased that both the federal and provincial governments are providing financial assistance to reduce the cost of home modifications for people and families with mobility challenges.

“One of the questions most-often posed by clients to HME staff is whether government assistance is available for the installation of home-modification products,” said Robert Boscacci, a partner and principal in HME.

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“The answer, we are pleased to say, is ‘yes’,” he said.

“Financial assistance programs offered by the federal and provincial governments cover equipment such as stair-lifts, ramps, VPLs, custom hand-rails and ceiling lifts,” explained HME partner and principal, Cameron Fleming.

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“While there are slight differences between the two programs administered by Ottawa and Victoria,” Fleming added, “both are designed to help with aging in place in one’s home.”

The two programs operate as follows:

This program (launched by the BC Liberal government in 2012) provides home-owners with a tax-credit to reduce the cost of purchasing equipment such as stair-lifts, vertical platform lifts, grab bars and super poles, ramps, custom hand-rails and other equipment.

The tax-credit also may be applied to the cost of home modifications.

There are some qualifying criteria (see Backgrounder), but generally the program is available to all B.C. residents who either are seniors or living with a senior.

The Federal Home Accessibility Tax Credit

Ottawa’s new ‘Home Accessibility Tax Credit’ (introduced in April 2015) provides financial relief to seniors and persons with a disability who spend up to $10,000 in a calendar year to modify their residences.

The credit is calculated as 15 percent of eligible renovation expenses. So, should an individual claim $10,000 on eligible improvements, the reduction in payable federal taxes would be $1,500.

Contact:

Robert Boscacci, CA

HME Mobility & Accessibility

604-821-0075

BACKGROUNDER:

Canada’s (federal government) Home Accessibility Tax Credit.

To qualify, an applicant must be 65 years or older (after the end of 2015), or be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. Home renovations must be designed to improve the safety and/or accessibility of a home.

Applicants may claim a non-refundable tax credit for up to $10,000 of eligible expenditures per each calendar year.

The credit also may be used by individuals or caregivers who expend monies on home modifications and equipment for their spouses or common-law partners, or for an eligible or infirm dependent.

Products that qualify:

Home-access modifications and equipment must be ‘enduring in nature’ to qualify for the tax credit. They also must assist individuals to gain access to, or be more mobile or functional within, their own residence, as well as reduce the risk of harm at home.

Examples of renovation expenses that qualify for the credit:

  • Non-slip flooring in the bathroom
  • Hand-held shower installation
  • Door locks that are easy to operate
  • 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 lifts/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
  • Lever handles on doors and taps, instead of knobs
  • Pull-out shelves under a counter to enable work from a seated position
  • Additional light fixtures throughout the home and exterior entrances
  • Swing clear hinges on doors to widen doorways
  • Touch-and-release drawers and cupboards

British Columbia’s (provincial government) Home Renovation Tax Credit.

An individual seeking the tax credit must be:

  • a resident of B.C., and
  • a senior or a family member living with a senior.

The renovation must be to the applicant’s principal residence, which is the home primarily lived-in (including a non-seasonal mobile home).

The credit may be shared between eligible residents of a residence. The maximum amount of the credit is $1,000 per tax year, and is calculated as 10% of the qualifying renovation expense to a maximum of $10,000 in expenses.

The credit is a refundable tax credit, which means if the credit is higher than taxes owed, the applicant will receive the difference as a refund.

Products that qualify:

A renovation or alteration must help a senior with an impairment by:

  • improving access to the home or land,
  • improving mobility and functions within the home or land, or
  • reducing the risk of harm within the home or land.

Ineligible renovations are those for which the main purpose is to increase the value of the home or land.

(Please note: Modular or removable versions of items that can be installed as permanent fixtures to the home or land qualify, e.g. modular ramps and non-fixed bath lifts.)

Examples of qualifying renovations or alterations:

  • Bathtubs – walk-in
  • Counters/cupboards – lowering existing ones
  • Counters/cupboards – installing adjustable ones
  • Door locks that are easy to operate
  • Doors that are widened for passage
  • Drawers and cupboards – touch-and-release
  • Flooring – non-slip or to allow the use of walkers
  • General renovation costs – necessary to enable access for seniors to first-floor or secondary suites
  • Grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower
  • Hand-held showers on adjustable rods or high-low mounting brackets
  • Hand rails in corridors
  • Lever handles on doors and taps, instead of knobs
  • Light fixtures throughout the home and exterior entrances
  • Light switches and electrical outlets placed in accessible locations
  • Lighting – motion-activated
  • Pull-out shelves under counter to enable work from a seated position
  • Showers – wheel-in
  • Sinks – alterations to allow use from a seated position (and insulation of any hot-water pipes)
  • Swing clear hinges on doors to widen doorways
  • Taps – hands-free
  • Taps – relocation to front or side for easier access
  • Toilets – raised toilet seats
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Stair lifts/wheelchair lifts and elevators
Want to know if your home modifications qualify for financial aid and this government tax credit program? Call and any of our representatives will be able to help: 604-821-0075

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