This year you actually get money back

This year Canadians had good news in a bad economy: now’s not the time to stop improving our homes, but to go flat out and get it done.

The federal government’s Home Renovation Tax Credit, announced at the beginning of this year, meant instead of putting our renovation dollars under the mattress for more prosperous times, we could – and probably should – spend them before the end of the year. The work has to be finished by Feb. 1, 2010.

You can apply the credit to one or more buildings – for instance, on your primary home and also on your cottage.

If two or more families share the ownership of a building – for instance, a cottage – each family can claim its own tax credit, but only one can be claimed per family. The tax credit only applies to personal use and not to an income-producing home, or the part of your house that you rent out to others.

We have to spend at least $1,000 before it kicks in, and there’s no tax help after $10,000.

But for all we spend between those two amounts, the government will return 15 per cent to a maximum of $1,350.

It’s not something to sneeze at. That can go a long way when tax return time comes in the Spring.

The tax credit can be used for almost any kind of renovation project: for a new kitchen, bathroom, or basement; for new flooring; for a new heating system; for new insulation, and for landscaping.

In order to get the best value for renovations, it’s as important as ever to make sure a renovator is first-rate, accredited, and approved. Many renovators and builders say the best way to hire the right person is to make sure he or she has been certified by RenoMark™.

Qualified renovators will provide the documentation you need to claim the credit. This will include the renovator’s identification and registration number, a description of the work and supplies, and proof of payment.