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What’s New for 2015 Income Tax From CRA

We list the service enhancements and major changes below, including announced income tax changes that are not yet law at the time of printing. If they become law as proposed, they will be effective for 2015 or as of the dates given. For more information about these changes, see the areas outlined in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide – 2015.

Canada Revenue Agency services

MyCRA – This is a new mobile application that lets you securely view and change key tax information. See MyCRA – the web app for individual taxpayers on the go.

Auto‑fill my return – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can automatically fill in much of your tax return if you file electronically. See Auto-fill my return.

Notice of assessment – Your notice of assessment will have a new look that makes it easier to see the most essential information first. See Notice of assessment (NOA) or go to Notices and Letters.

Individuals and families

Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – The UCCB has increased to $160 per month for each qualified dependant under 6 years of age and there is a new benefit of $60 per month for each qualified dependant aged 6 through 17. See Universal child care benefit (UCCB).

If you have children, you would have been receiving those amounts during 2015. The tax-free, income-tested Canada Child Benefit of the federal Liberal Party is not there yet.

Child care expenses (line 214) – The maximum limit per child has increased by $1,000. See Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction for 2015.

In other words, the maximum limit for a child under 7 at end of year will be increased to $8,000, that for a child over 6 but under 16 during any time of the year $5,000, and for a child the disability tax credit can be claimed, the maximum limit is increased to $11,000.

Family caregiver amount for children under 18 years of age (line 367) – The amount for children under 18 years of age has been eliminated and replaced by the enhanced universal child care benefit. Line 367 is now used for the family caregiver amount for children under 18 years of age.

Family tax cut (line 423) – For 2014 and later years, the calculation for the family tax cut has been revised to allow unused tuition, education, and textbook amounts transferred from a spouse or common‑law partner. See line 15 of Schedule 1‑A, Family Tax Cut.

This is the so-mistakenly-called “income-splitting” for parents implemented by the last Conservative government, which the federal Liberals believe benefit only the wealthy 15% and is slated to be cancelled, though any couple with children under 18 years old at end of the year can benefit as long as they fall under different tax brackets. And much publicized Middle Class Tax Cut, or the 1.5% decrease of the second federal tax bracket, will only be relevant when you prepare your 2016 income taxes. When it takes effect for 2016, you will need to make $90,563 in taxable income (considering RRSP and child care expenses deductions, you will need to make substantially more than that) to benefit fully the tax cut, which is maxed out at $679. If you are making the average salary of $48,636 for 2016, without any RRSP or child care expenses deduction, you will save $50!

Children’s fitness tax credit (lines 458 and 459) – The children’s fitness tax credit is now a refundable credit.

That’s great for families if they do not have taxes to pay as a non-refundable credit will not benefit them.  Please note that Children’s arts amount is still capped at $500, on which a maximum of 15% non-refundable tax credit can be claimed.

Interest and investments

Other deductions (line 232) – The minimum amount that must be withdrawn each year from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), variable benefit money purchase registered pension plan (RPP), and pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) has been reduced. If you have withdrawn more than the reduced 2015 minimum amount, all or part of the excess may be eligible to be re‑contributed to a RRIF, RPP, account under a PRPP, or to buy a qualifying annuity and deducted on line 232.

Capital gains deduction (line 254) – The lifetime capital gains exemption for dispositions of qualified farm or fishing property made after April 20, 2015 has increased to $1,000,000, resulting in a capital gains deduction limit of $500,000. See Guide T4037, Capital Gains.

Interest paid on your student loans (line 319) – Interest paid on a Canada Apprentice Loan amount for registered Red Seal apprentices can be claimed on this line. For more information about the Canada Apprentice Loan, go to Service Canada.

Investment tax credit (line 412) – Eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit has been extended to flow-through share agreements entered into before April 2016.

Form T1135, Foreign Income Verification Statement – This form has changed to introduce a simplified reporting method for individuals who own specified foreign property with a total cost of less than $250,000 throughout the year. See Form T1135.

Tax‑free savings account (TFSA) – The TFSA annual contribution limit has increased to $10,000.

Starting 2016, the TFSA annual contribution limit will be again $5,500, adjusted for inflation every year.

Other changes

Repeated failure to report income penalty – Canada Revenue Agency may now charge you this penalty only if the amount of income you failed to report on your return was $500 or more. The calculation of the penalty has changed. See Repeated failure to report income penalty.

Source: General Income Tax and Benefit Guide – 2015

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