Tax savings for seniors

Our Government has established many tax credits and benefits targeted to seniors aged 65 and up to help reduce their tax burden. So when our Minister of State for Seniors, the Honourable Alice Wong, recently sent along the following information, I thought it would be a good idea to share it with you.

The information helps explain the benefits and credits available to seniors and whether or not you are eligible.

If you find any of the information below unclear, do not hesitate to go to www.cra.gc.ca/seniors or contact my office at 250-470-5075 or [email protected] and my staff will be happy to help you.


GST/HST Credit

You are eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada for income tax purposes in the month prior to, and at the beginning of the month in which the GST/HST credit is issued and at least one of the following applies:

• you are 19 years of age or older before the month in which the CRA makes a quarterly payment;

• you have (or have previously had) a spouse or common-law partner; or

• you are (or previously were) a parent and live (or previously lived) with your child.

To receive the GST/HST credit, you have to apply for it, even if you received it last year. To apply, you have to file an income tax and benefit return, even if you have no income to report, and check the “Yes” box in the GST/HST credit application area on page 1 of your income tax return. Be sure to enter your marital status and information about your spouse or common-law partner, including their net income and social insurance number, in the identification area on page 1 of your return. Without this information, your application may be delayed.


Age amount

You can claim this amount if you were 65 years of age or older on December 31 of the taxation year (2012), and your net income (line 236 of your return) is less than $78,684.

How to claim the age amount:

  • If your net income was $33,884 or less, enter $6,720 on line 301 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax;
  • If your net income was more than $33,884, but less than $78,684, complete the chart for line 301 on the Federal Worksheet to calculate your claim.


Pension income splitting

You and your spouse or common-law partner can choose to split 50% of the eligible pension income you received in the year if you meet the following conditions:

  • you are married or in a common-law partnership with each other in the year and are not, because of a breakdown in your marriage or common-law partnership, living separate and apart from each other at the end of the tax year and for a period of 90 days or more that began during the year; and
  • you are both residents in Canada on December 31 of the year; or if deceased in the year, the individual was a resident in Canada on the date of death; or if bankrupt in the year, you were a resident in Canada on December 31 of the year in which the tax year (pre- or post-bankruptcy) ends; and you received pension income in the year that qualifies for the pension income amount.


Pension income amount

  • You may be able to claim up to $2,000 for the pension income amount if:
  • you reported eligible pension, superannuation, or annuity payments on line 115, line 116, and/or line 129 of your income tax return; or
  • you were less than 65 years of age at the end of the year; and
  • the income you reported at line 115, line 116, and/or line 129 is listed in the Eligible Pension and Annuity Income chart and was received due to the condition listed for that type of income.


Medical expenses

There are many medical expenses, prescribed by an authorized medical practitioner, that you can claim on your income tax return.

On line 330 of your return, you can claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:

  • yourself;
  • your spouse or common-law partner; and
  • your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child under 18 years of age at the end of the year. Medical expenses for other dependants must be claimed on line 331.

For a full list of eligible medical expenses and for more information, visit www.cra.gc.ca/medical.


Public transit amount

If you pay for a public transit pass, you may be able to claim the public transit amount on your tax return. Eligible passes must permit unlimited travel for a specified period of time within Canada on local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains or buses, or local ferries.

You can also claim the cost of:

  • shorter duration passes if each pass entitles you to unlimited travel for an uninterrupted period of at least 5 days; and you purchase enough of these passes so that you are entitled to unlimited travel for at least 20 days in any 28-day period.
  • electronic payment cards if the card is used to make at least 32 one-way trips during an uninterrupted period not exceeding 31 days; and the card is issued by a public transit authority that records and provides a receipt for the cost and usage of the card.

Our government has made seniors a priority and I trust that you will find this information useful.


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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