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Improved Access to the Tax Credit for Caregivers

As of the 2011 taxation year, the refundable tax credit for caregivers will have three components. The first will apply to informal caregivers who house, in the strict sense of the term, an eligible relative; the second, to informal caregivers who cohabit with an eligible relative unable to live alone; and the third, to certain informal caregivers caring for an elderly spouse.

The first two components provide for a universal basic amount of $591, plus a supplement of $484 that is reduced at a rate of 16% for every dollar of the eligible relative’s income that exceeds a threshold of $21,505. The universal basic amount, the supplement and the income-based reduction threshold are automatically indexed each year. The third component of the tax credit also provides for a universal basic amount of $591, but without the supplement.

An individual or an individual’s spouse may, provided he or she is exempt from tax, claim the tax credit under one of the three components.

Informal caregivers who house an eligible relative

As of the 2011 taxation year, the current rules for the refundable tax credit for caregivers in regard to the housing of an eligible relative will constitute the first component of the tax credit.

However, the tax legislation will be amended to specify that the tax credit applies solely to an informal caregiver who houses an eligible relative in a dwelling of which the informal caregiver or the caregiver’s spouse is the owner, tenant or subtenant, alone or with a person other than the eligible relative.

The details of the calculation of the tax credit will remain unchanged for this component.

Informal caregivers cohabiting with an eligible relative

The second component of the tax credit will apply, for a particular taxation year, to an informal caregiver who, throughout a period of at least 365 consecutive days beginning in the year or the previous year, including at least 183 days in the year, cohabits with an eligible relative in a dwelling of which the relative or the relative’s spouse is the owner, tenant or subtenant, alone or with another person, provided a physician certifies that the eligible relative is unable to live alone because of a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions.

For the application of this component, where, for a particular taxation year, more than one individual living with an eligible relative could be considered the relative’s informal caregiver, only the individual who is the principal provider of support to the eligible relative may be considered his or her informal caregiver.

The current rules for determining the amount of the tax credit will apply fully to this second component.

Informal caregivers caring for an elderly spouse

The third component of the tax credit will apply, for a particular taxation year, to an individual who, throughout a period of at least 365 consecutive days beginning in the year or the previous year, including at least 183 days in the year, cohabits with his or her spouse in a dwelling, other than a dwelling in a residence for elderly persons, of which the individual or the individual’s spouse is the owner, tenant or subtenant, alone or with another person, provided the spouse is 70 or over at the end of the year (or on the date of death if the spouse died in the year) and has a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions rendering him or her unable to live alone, as certified by a physician.

However, an individual may not, for a particular year, receive the tax credit with respect to his or her own spouse if another person is claiming the tax credit for the year with respect to the individual or the individual’s spouse.

For more details, refer to page J.8 of the 2011-2012 Budget Plan, published by the Ministère des Finances.

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