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Canadian Tax Changes for 2017

Exempt scholarship or bursary income can now include programs taken below the post-secondary level under certain conditions. The tuition amount has been enhanced, but the education and textbook amounts eliminated. The new “Canada caregiver amount” replaces the old caregiver amount, family caregiver amount, and amount for infirm dependants age 18 or older.

Exempt Income from Scholarships, Fellowships, Bursaries, and Artists' Project Grants
The education amount has been eliminated and the new term “qualifying student” introduced. Post-secondary school scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries are not taxable if you received them in 2017 for enrolment in a program that entitled you to claim the full-time education amount in 2016, or are considered a full-time qualifying student for 2017 or 2018. Elementary and secondary school scholarships and bursaries are not taxable.

The exemption now includes scholarships or bursaries received by students aged 16 and over at the end of the year, enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution in Canada for a program that is not at the post-secondary level, if that program provides the student with skills for, or improves skills in, an occupation.

Canada Caregiver Amount
The Canada caregiver amount has replaced the family caregiver amount, the amount for infirm dependants age 18 or older, and the caregiver amount. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be entitled to claim this amount.

The CRA may ask for a signed statement from a medical practitioner showing when the impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be. For children under 18 years of age, the statement should also show that the child, because of the impairment in physical or mental functions, is, and will likely continue to be, dependent on others for an indefinite duration. Dependent on others means they need much more assistance for their personal needs and care compared to children of the same age. You do not need a signed statement from a medical practitioner if the CRA already has an approved Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, for a specified period.

Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts
The education and textbook amounts have been eliminated, but the tuition amount has been enhanced to include fees paid for occupational skills courses that are not at the post-secondary level, if the student is at least 16 years of age at the end of the year and enrolled in the educational institution to obtain skills for, or improve skills in, an occupation. An example given by CRA is “training in a second language or in basic literacy and numeracy.”

Note that unused federal tuition, education, and textbook amounts from 2016 and previous years can still be carried forward.

Elimination of Certain Credits and Amounts
The Public Transit Amount has been eliminated as of July 1, 2017. The Children's Arts Amount and Children's Fitness Tax Credit are eliminated for 2017.

Change to Allowable Medical Expenses
Individuals who need medical intervention to conceive a child are now eligible to claim the same expenses as individuals with medical infertility. Payments for certain reproductive technologies are therefore now eligible, even if you do not have a medical condition that prevents you from conceiving a child. You can also request an adjustment to claim such medical expenses on any income tax return for the 10 previous calendar years.

Donations and Gifts
A gift of ecologically sensitive land cannot be made to a private foundation after March 21, 2017. There are also a number of changes to the Ecological Gifts Program. For more information, see Gifts of ecologically sensitive land in Pamphlet P113, Gifts and Income Tax.

Disability Tax Credit Certification
Nurse practitioners have been added to the list of medical practitioners who can certify eligibility of a person for the Disability Tax Credit as of March 22, 2017.

Investment Tax Credit
Eligibility for the mineral exploration tax credit has been extended to flow-through share agreements entered into before April 2018. In addition, as of March 22, 2017, expenses for the creation of child care spaces are no longer eligible for the investment tax credit.

Labour-Sponsored Funds Tax Credit
The tax credit for the purchase of shares of federally registered labour sponsored venture capital corporations (LSVCC) has been eliminated for 2017. The tax credit for provincially registered LSVCC can still be claimed on lines 413 and 414.

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