More than 80 percent of Canadian homeowners admit they know little to nothing about the new Home Renovation Tax Credit that could result in tax savings
up to a maximum of $1,350. The poll by Angus Reid Strategies also showed 98 percent of homeowners are unaware of the February 1, 2010 deadline for claiming their renovations.

This Canadian public opinion poll was conducted online by Angus Reid Strategies, from June 5 to June 11, 2009, and surveyed 1,398 randomly selected Canadian homeowners. The margin of error for the total sample is +/-2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The survey showed:

– Only 20 per cent of Canadian homeowners understood that condo owners can apply their share of the cost of a renovation of the common areas in their building.

– Fifty-six per cent of respondents didn’t realize replacing the windows in the family cottage would be eligible.

There are all types of projects that qualify but Canadians seem to be confused about what they can actually claim. If you wait until you file your tax return to ask questions, it will be too late.

There are guidelines about what qualifies and what doesn’t under the credit so homeowners need to understand that replacing a couple of boards on a deck does not qualify but replacing or renovating the deck does. Cottage renovations are okay, but you can only claim up to $10,000 per family, not per property. Ultimately, if you do have a qualifying project but don’t claim it, you are giving the government your money.

Tim Cestnick is managing director at WaterStreet Family Wealth Counsel and author of 101 Tax Secrets for Canadians and writes columns for the Globe and Mail on tax saving solutions. I recommend reading his column on June 4 2009 for more insight on how to make the HRTC credit work for you.

Special attention should be paid to those renovations that also qualify for ecoEnergy grants such as windows and doors!

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