Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Take advantage of reno tax breaks
By The Calgary Sun (Cheryll Gillespie)

Renovating the home has never been as popular as it is now in Calgary and now is the time to renovate and take advantage of government-sponsored tax breaks, while adding value to your home.

Sure, it is a little bit of paperwork, but think of the money you will save or have to use for a holiday in Tahiti (so that you can lay on the gorgeous black sand beaches and think creatively about your next home decorating/renovation project).

This is fabulous -- we can actually get money back from the government when we make upgrades to our home. It is almost silly for us not to take advantage of the provincial and federal government rebates and tax incentives available to us now.

The federal tax credit is only available for the 2009 tax year and applies to eligible expenditures of more than $1,000, but not more than $10,000. That means you can receive up to a maximum credit of $1,350 ($9,000 x .15).

What's considered eligible? You can renovate the kitchen, perhaps treat yourself to new countertops -- granite, anyone?

Or how about hardwood floors -- when you go to sell the home, this will be a big plus for potential buyers and you will also be increasing the value of your home. Besides, we all love the warmth and ease of maintenance associated with hardwood.

Try hand-scraped, wide plank in a handsome walnut -- yummy!

You can even re-carpet the bedrooms, although I am personally a big fan of hardwood, tile or stone floors for health and esthetic reasons.

What else is considered an eligible project?

You can paint the house inside or out, re-side the exterior, add some stone work, build an addition or a bigger garage, replace the roof, the front door or even the driveway itself, you can landscape, add a new swimming pool or keep it simple and simply replace a few outdated lighting fixtures.

The best part is that not only the cost of the materials is eligible, but so is the labour, professional services (yes, you can include your designer fees), equipment rentals and even the building permits if any are required.

Now, let us not forget to mention some of the provincial- and energy-related credits available.

If you have been thinking about replacing an older furnace in your home or want a better view that new, larger windows will provide, you can qualify for even more credits from the provincial and federal governments.

There is even money available for new toilets, insulating the attic, appliances and much more, but the trick is not to wait until the hot water heater gives out or the toilet begins to leak. You need to be proactive and replace and upgrade inefficient energy suckers in your home with a plan of attack.

The catch here is that you must have an energy audit done on your home before you embark on any project and then you must have a second audit done within 18 months of the work having been completed.

You can go online to the Government of Canada site to find an auditor in your area at

Renovation archive

What do you think is a reasonable price for a kitchen renovation?
$10, 000
$25, 000
$50, 000
$100, 000