Good news on home-reno tax credits

By Tony Gioventu, Special to The Province February 22, 2009

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata council has been receiving inquiries from our owners asking if they will be able to qualify for the new federal home reno tax credit. Will strata corporations qualify? If so, would it apply to each unit or does the strata corporation have to file returns? How are owners supposed to know how much they will be able to qualify for?

— Windermere Strata

Council, Nanaimo

There is good news for resident strata homeowners. In the case of condominiums (strata property in B.C.) and co-operative housing corporations, the individuals who share the cost of eligible expenditures for common areas will qualify. The credit will be based on expenses for work performed or goods acquired after Jan. 27, 2009, and before Feb. 1, 2010.

Eligibility for the tax credit will be family-based, and a single credit per family may be shared within the family. Eligible expenditures need to be incurred in relation to a renovation or alteration to an eligible dwelling or related land forming part of the dwelling. It includes the cost of labour, professional services, building materials, fixtures, rentals and permits.

Your strata must maintain and retain copies of agreements, invoices and receipts that clearly identify the type and quantity of goods purchased or services provided.

There are some practical implications for strata corporations and strata managers. It will require the strata corporation to produce a financial statement of the types of expenses that will qualify, and the strata will likely be required to issue to each owner at the end of the period on Feb. 1, 2010, a statement showing the total costs, and the share of each unit based on unit entitlement.

Owners do not have to submit supporting documents with their tax returns, but they must be available should they be requested by the CRA.

It will be critical that your strata corporation tracks the eligible expenses this year and maintains all of the related records.

Eligible repairs include kitchen, bathroom or basement renovations, new flooring, new additions, decks or fences, a new furnace, a new driveway or painting of the interior or exterior of your homes.

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