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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to your questions about the B.C. seniors' home renovation tax credit.

Useful Contacts

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency with your questions about the tax credit.

Phone:  1-800-959-8281
            (Toll-free within Canada)

B.C. Seniors' Home Renovation Tax Credit

The B.C. seniors home renovation tax credit assists individuals 65 and over with the cost of certain permanent home renovations to improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home.

The program started April 1, 2012 so your renovation expenses must happen on or after this date. An eligible expense is deemed to have been paid on the earlier of the date on which the expense was paid or the date it becomes payable. Expenses made or incurred under an agreement entered into before April 1, 2012 do not qualify.

You’re eligible to claim the credit for the year if on the last day of the tax year you’re: 

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

The renovation must be to your principal residence, which is the home you primarily live in (including a non-seasonal mobile home).

The credit can be shared between eligible residents of the home to a maximum amount of the credit. The maximum amount of the credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10% of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000 in expenses). The credit is a refundable tax credit, which means if the credit is higher than the taxes you owe, you’ll receive the difference as a refund.

What Qualifies

The 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.

The main purpose of the renovation can't be 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
  • Wheelchair ramps, stair/wheelchair lifts and elevators

What Doesn't Qualify

  • Aesthetic enhancements – such as landscaping or redecorating
  • Appliances – all appliances including those with front located controls, side swing ovens, etc
  • Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors
  • Flooring (regular) installation
  • General maintenance – such as plumbing or electrical repairs
  • Heating or air conditioning systems installation
  • Electronics (home-entertainment)
  • Home medical monitoring equipment
  • Home security (anti-burglary) equipment
  • Insulation replacement
  • Roof repairs
  • Services, such as:
    • Home care services
    • Housekeeping services
    • Outdoor maintenance and gardening services
    • Security or medical monitoring services
  • Vehicles adapted for people with mobility limitations
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Window installation

Claiming the Credit

You can claim the credit when you file your personal income tax return for 2012 and future years. To do this, you will have to complete Schedule BC(S12) of your tax return and put the amount you spent on eligible renovations beside box 6048 on form BC(479).

You must retain documentation to support your claim, including receipts from suppliers and contractors. If work has been performed by a family member, receipts for labour and materials must have a GST/HST number.

If you receive an invoice at the end of the calendar year and pay it in the following calendar year, the credit is to be claimed for the taxation year based on when you received the invoice.

Learn more about how to file your income tax return.

Legislation

The following legislation applies to the B.C. seniors' home renovation tax credit: