Homes - Renovating

Update your home and save on your taxes

Take advantage of the tax credit before it's gone.

The 2009 federal budget introduced a nice little treat for homeowners in the renovating state of mind: the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC).

If you spend between $1,000 and $10,000 on renovation supplies or home improvement services for your home and/or cottage, you can apply for a 15 per cent tax credit on your family's 2009 income tax return. As long as you have the materials purchased or the services rendered between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010, you are eligible to receive up to $1,350.

Before you go crazy with the whole-home makeover, make sure your purchases count: Things like renovating your kitchen or bathroom, adding an addition, installing a new furnace or central air system, painting your house (inside and out), buying new fixtures (like lights, fans, toilets, tubs) or landscaping all count towards the tax credit. Furniture, electronics, tools and regular home maintenance don't count, so step away from that Anthropologie catalogue.

Improvements aimed at increasing your home's energy efficiency also count towards the HRTC, and as a bonus, may qualify you for energy rebates. For example, replacing your old furnace with a high-efficiency model not only counts towards the HRTC, but might also be eligible for the ecoEnergy retrofit program, making your savings even higher.

To qualify for the rebate, all goods and services must be bought and paid for, either in cash or by credit, by February 1, 2010. Think you qualify? Save your receipts, and make sure to check out the Canada Revenue Agency's website for full details.

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