Government Offers Renovation Rebate in 2009

By: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service

For a certain sector of consumers, 2009 could become the year of the reno, following the recent announcement of a Home Renovation Tax Credit that lets taxpayers claim 15% of their fixups until Feb. 1, 2010.

Canadians who want to sod their lawns or renovate their bathrooms will get a tax break worth up to $1,350 as a key plank of the government's effort to inspire spending. The federal government said the incentive will provide about $3-billion in tax relief to some 4.6 million families.

The tax credit, which is available for homes and cottages effective immediately, is designed to boost construction, forestry and other industries. Taxpayers can claim renovations on their 2009 tax returns on costs over $1,000, but not exceeding $10,000.

The list of eligible expenses for the tax credit includes:

  • renovating kitchens, bathrooms or basements
  • new carpeting or flooring
  • building additions, decks, or retaining walls
  • installing furnaces or water heaters
  • interior and exterior painting
  • driveway resurfacing

Routine maintenance does not qualify. Such things as new furniture, appliances, tools, carpet cleaning and snow removal are excluded.

Also on the home front, the government will put an extra $300-million over two years into energy retrofits, raise to $25,000 the amount first-time homebuyers can borrow from RRSPs, and provide up to $750 in tax relief to help with their purchases.