ATAMANENKO: Tax tips for seniors

ATAMANENKO: Tax tips for seniors

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) - The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a tax-free benefit available to low-income seniors living in Canada, who are receiving, or are eligible to receive, Old Age Security (OAS). Enrollment is not automatic, you MUST apply for this supplement.

Age Tax Credit - You can claim this amount if you were 65 years of age or older on December 31, 2011, and your net income (line 236 of your return) is less than $76,541.  If your net income was:

  • $32,961 or less, enter $6,537 on line 301 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax;
  • more than $32,961, but less than $76,541, com­plete the chart for line 301 on the Federal Work­sheet in the forms book to calculate your claim.

Enter your date of birth in the “Information about you” area on page 1 of your return.

Remember to claim the corresponding provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credit to which you are entitled, on line 5808 of your provincial or territorial Form 428.

Pension Income Splitting - You (the pensioner) and your spouse or common-law partner (the pension transferee) can elect to split your eligible pension income received in the year if you meet all the following conditions:

you are married or in a common-law partnership with each other in the year and were 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 commencing in the year (see the note); and

• you were both resident in Canada on December 31 of the year; or

• if deceased in the year, resident in Canada on the date of death; or

• if bankrupt in the year, resident in Canada on December 31 of the year in which the tax year (pre- or post-bankruptcy) ends.

• you received pension income in the year that qualifies for the pension income amount.

Note: You and your spouse or common-law partner will still be eligible to split pension income if living apart at the end of the year for medical, educational, or business reasons (rather than a breakdown in the marriage or common-law partnership).

Eligible pension income can only be split between you (the pensioner) and your spouse or common-law partner (the pension transferee).

You are not prevented from splitting your eligible pension income because of the age of your spouse or common-law partner.

Pension Income Amount - You may be able to claim up to $2,000 if you reported eligible pension, superannuation, or annuity payments on line 115, line 116, and/or line 129 of your return.

Amounts transferred from your spouse or common-law partner - You may be able to claim all or part of the following amounts for which your spouse or common-law partner qualifies, if he or she did not need the whole amount to reduce his or her federal tax to zero:

• the age amount (line 301) if your spouse or common-law partner was 65 years of age or older;

• the amount for children born in 1994 or later (line 367);

• the pension income amount (line 314);

• the disability amount (for self) (line 316); and

• tuition, education, and textbook amounts (line 323) for 2011 that your spouse or common-law partner designates to you. The maximum amount that your spouse or common-law partner can transfer is $5,000 minus the amounts that he or she uses even if there is still an unused part.

I think that this link should give you a good start. Not everything will apply but, since you know your own circumstances, you’ll be able to figure out if you are eligible for benefits or programs beyond what you are receiving now.

Alex Atamanenko is the MP for BC Southern Interior.