Wednesday, April 4, 2012

B.C. Seniors' Home Renovation Tax Credit?

Dear Saanich South,

My community office continues to receive calls, emails and visits from seniors who are excited about a brand new program that has already been announced and re-announced several times by the BC Liberals.

According to a press release sent out by the government on April 1st, the $1000 “B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit” is now available.

However, when my staff contacted the Ministry on April the 2nd to get more information for inquiring constituents we learned that the programme is actually not available.

In fact, there is no way to apply for it, the exact rules of the program have not been established and the enabling legislation has not even been introduced.

And if that is not enough, the fine print that has been disclosed makes this program far less significant than it seems.

The credit will apparently be only for certain types of renovations. For example, it can't be used to do renovations such as a roof repair or a wiring upgrade.

In addition, the $1,000 figure is the maximum allowable and only available if the seniors do repairs worth at least $10,000.

Assuming it is brought in as promised, the programme could help seniors make their homes more accessible. The plan is to make the credit available for things like a wheel-chair ramp. Properly implemented this should benefit seniors who already have the wherewithal to pay 90% of the cost of such improvements

But for now seniors are left with an overstated promise of a “home renovation tax credit” that is not available.

The latest press release trumpeting the program went out on April Fool’s Day. I suppose the joke is on seniors but it isn't funny.

If you would like an update when (if) this program finally becomes available, please let my community office know at 250 479 4154.


Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

For more information, check out an article on this subject by Rob Shaw in today's Times Colonist: