These Major Life Milestones Can Get You a Tax Refund

Learn how to claim a lot of things related to major life milestones (like weddings! And babies!) on your taxes for the ultimate tax return in 2017. 

Millennials regularly compare their life events against the track their parents’ generation took.

By this age, my parents were married, living in their second home, working full-time in their careers, and had baby number one on the way.

And though many of us millennials opt for marriage, children and buying our first home closer to our 30- to 40-year mark, many of life’s milestones still happen to us, whether or not we feel as emotionally-prepared or financially-able as our parents.

Luckily, you can claim a lot of things related to these milestones on your taxes, making it possible to reclaim some of your hard-earned skrilla. Here’s a list of all the exciting adventures you may be able to cash in on.

Attending Post-Secondary Education
School is expensive, and way more expensive than it was for our parents. Canadian tuition fees have tripled in the last 20 years, but there are ways to make the burden a little more manageable. Those who are currently studying, recently completed their full-time degree, or even taking part-time continuing education courses after work at a designated educational institution can file for tax return benefits. You can claim $400 for each whole or partial month in the year you’re in school for a full-time program or $120 per month if you’re attending school part-time. There are even credits to help you pay for your textbooks!

Changing Careers
Millennials are now notorious for shopping around in our careers – but did you know there’s a tax credit for that? If you’re working as a freelance professional or a consultant, there are some incurred costs that you can claim, such as travel expenses, office supplies, and even part of your rent.

If you are starting with a brand new employer, your Canadian pension plan and employment insurance contributions reset for the fiscal year. Because of this, it’s important to file your T4s in order to receive your maximum tax benefits. Your employer is required to submit your T4 slips to both you and the Canada Revenue Agency by February 28th each year.

Moving Across the Country
Moving in order to be closer to your job happens to a lot of us, and you may be eligible to deduct moving expenses such as travel costs, meals, lodging, mover costs, or even the legal fees involved in selling your old home. Depending on the province where you live, your rent can also potentially be claimed on your taxes! (Sorry Vancouver, you’re too pricey to be included in this tax credit; this time the glory goes to Toronto).

Buying a First Home
Canadians have reported that the number one financial strain in the event of purchasing their first home is the size of the down-payment alone. Thankfully, first-time home owners may be able to claim up to $5,000 on their taxes! The First-Time Homebuyer Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that reduces the amount of taxes you owe. Once you’re all settled in, you can also get a tax deduction on things like your property taxes, mortgage interest, and more.

Getting Married (Or Even Living Together For a Long Time)
Perhaps you got married last year, or perhaps you and your partner celebrated the milestone of having lived together for one year — in the eyes of the Canadian government, you are equally spouses in both cases, and are potentially entitled to tax return benefits.

If you haven’t done so already, open an RRSP. This is a smart tax-reduction strategy, especially for newlyweds, that lets you receive tax deductions based on your annual contributions and your tax bracket.

Becoming a Parent
There are many tax benefits available to single and spousal families who have added another little Canadian to the fold this year! Single parents may qualify for an eligible dependent credit. And for all new working or scholarly parents who incur childcare expenses, you may be able to deduct those costs on your next income tax return.

So how do you know whether or not you qualify for any of these benefits? An easy way of figuring out which tax credits you are entitled to is by using software like TurboTax. The simple user-friendly software will ask you straightforward questions like, “Did you get married this year?” and “Did you change jobs in the past 12 months?”. Check it out on their website — it may earn you a substantial return on your 2016 taxes!

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