A lifetime dedicated to your career has finally paid off in precious retirement years. You've worked hard, and you deserve to enjoy your future. But while retirement is often referred to as the golden years, living on a fixed income can be stressful and requires some smart financial planning. Here are a few ways that seniors can stretch their retirement dollars by saving money at tax time:
• Public transit saves money that you might have otherwise spent on rising gas prices, parking, and car maintenance. Not only do seniors typically pay less for public transit, but the cost of transit passes can be claimed on your tax return.
• You may be able to split your eligible pension income with your spouse or common-law partner, allocating up to 50% of your pension to him or her, to lower your taxes.
• If you or your spouse or common-law partner has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions and meets certain conditions, you might be eligible for the disability tax credit.
• If you care for a spouse or other family member who has a physical or mental illness that makes them dependent on you for care, the new family caregiver amount could save you money.
• If you receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance benefits under the Old Age Security program, you can usually renew your benefit simply by filing your return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada.
• Applying for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit helps to offset all or part of the GST or HST that you pay.
Other helpful tax-time information for seniors can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra.gc.ca/seniors. To make it easy on yourself this year, why not consider filing online? It's simple, secure and will save you time. Information to get you started is available at www.cra.gc.ca/getready.
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