The value of the DTC even for a senior who pays no taxes

Dad’s moved in to our basement suite

            This may have happened to you. A client came to me, his father couldn’t live independently at home anymore but Dad was well enough that they could watch over him. So the client took Dad into his home and set up a basement suite. Dad’s income was too low to reasonably afford assisted living and he didn’t yet qualify for health care system subsidy supports. I asked my client, who’s been doing your father’s tax returns? The answer – “I do them”. So I asked to see the returns.

The first thing I noticed – no DTC was being claimed. I asked a few questions. Dad needed a walker, he was extremely forgetful, and his hearing was really poor. To make a long story short, it was obvious my client’s father would qualify for the DTC under cumulative restrictions and had for some time. My client realized Dad might qualify but had never applied as his father paid no tax. What my client didn’t understand was that as his father was living in a place he maintained, the client – as his son – could use the disability tax credits that would have gained no tax reduction to his father. My client received several thousands of dollars from CRA when his father was approved for the DTC. The client then used those proceeds to have a walk in shower built for his father which increased safety and quality of life. How nice is that?  Tax karma, money refunded from CRA funded a better quality of life for Dad!

Mike Campagne CFP, BA **

** The views and content are those of the author and the article is not to be construed as financial advice, but rather as general information.  Please contact your health care provider to determine specific potential government health care supports to you or family members.  Always consult a tax professional in determining the optimal way for you to file your 2018 tax return in regard to relevant tax credits and deductions.  Due to the differences in provincial health care rules and regulations, DTS serves elderly clients only in British Columbia.