Bob Whitelaw, a public policy consultant, speaks on CTV's Canada AM from Ottawa, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.
CTV.ca News Staff
Canadians planning to take advantage of the Home Renovation Tax Credit should know that it has not been passed into law, though one expert says it is almost a certainty that they will be able to file for it on their taxes.
The $3 billion program was introduced in January as an incentive that the government hoped would help stimulate the Canadian economy during the early days of the current recession.
The government estimated that as many as 4.6 million Canadian families would take advantage of the chance to complete home improvements, while saving up to $1,350 on their annual taxes.
Sales at home centers and hardware stores were up for the third consecutive month in May, suggesting that the incentive seems to be working.
But public policy consultant Bob Whitelaw told CTV's Canada AM that the HRTC technically cannot be claimed until it is approved by Parliament -- something that hasn't happened yet.
"This was introduced as part of the 2009-1010 budget in January, the credit is effective from January to next February, but subject to passing in the House of Commons and Parliament before you can really claim it on your taxes," he told CTV's Canada AM during an interview from Ottawa on Thursday morning.
And while Whitelaw believes it is highly unlikely that the tax credit will not go forward, Canadians should know that it has not been passed into law.
"Carry on with those expenditures, know that I'm sure our colleagues and people in government will be working diligently to pass this -- whatever party might be in power, within the next year -- so that it will be in effect...for the tax year," Whitelaw said.
The federal government has been heavily promoting the tax credit as part of its economic action plan, and only last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said "there has never been a better time to renovate your home," suggesting that the tax credit can help homeowners save on their taxes and increase the value of their homes.
Under the HRTC, homeowners can receive a non-refundable tax credit worth up to $1,350 depending on the expenses associated with eligible renovations or improvements made after Jan. 27, 2009 and before Feb. 1, 2010.
The renovations must be worth more than $1,000, but not more than $10,000, in order to qualify for the tax credit. Homeowners are required to provide receipts and appropriate documentation in order to claim it.