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2009 Changes That Will Influence Your Tax Return

How quickly the April 30 tax deadline comes around

. With only a few days left to file, some last minute Canadians will be scrambling to find receipts, documents and a list of the 2009 tax credit changes. In the event you've not yet found such a list, here it is. These are the key tax changes for 2009.

When it comes to your employment, Canada Revenue Agency changed its policy on loyalty programs during 2009. The old rules stipulated that employees were to be taxed on any 'benefits' such as employee-earned frequent flyer points through company credit cards or any other sort of company loyalty points. This is no longer the case. As long as such points are not converted to cash. Also, if you drive a company vehicle, CRA will now provide a tax relief as long as your employer requires you to use the vehicle for business only whereas before, employees who used employer provided vehicles usually faced a taxable benefit on the personal portion of the vehicle usage.

The Federal Government introduced a First-Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit that is worth up to $750. To qualify for this credit, your home must have been purchased after January 1, 2009. With the continued low interest rates and this new tax credit, the first half of 2010 may be a good time to consider buying a home if you're in the market.

You can also now claim a home renovation tax credit, which can provide you with up to $1,350 back in your pocket. To qualify for The Home Renovation Tax Credit, renovations on your cottage or home had to be completed by February 1, 2010 and will qualify you for a refund as long as the cost was between $1,000 and $10,000.

Being environmentally green definitely has many perks, and now, the Canadian government is offering cash back to homeowners who update certain aspects of their homes to be more environmentally friendly and green. These eco-friendly renovations come in the form of grants and can vary in amounts depending on the renovations and upgrades you are having done. You can check out the complete list and details at www.ecoaction.gc.ca.

This is now our second year with tax-free savings accounts in Canada, also referred to as TFSAs. If you're able to, make a contribution in early 2010 as you will be allowed to contribute $10,000 - if you did not contribute anything in 2009. The TFSA accounts allow a tax-free contribution of $5,000 per year.

by: Molly Wider
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2009 Changes That Will Influence Your Tax Return