Tax Tips for the 2021 Tax Year

As you get ready to file your 2021 taxes, make note that the deadline this year is May 2, 2022.

Each year we present BCRTA members a guide to help you make the most of your annual tax return. BCRTA does not offer income tax advice, but here are some common issues and deductions to keep in mind. Working through this list will help you complete your return to your maximum advantage. Our annual check list is put together by our Pensions and Benefits Committee. We start with the factors that apply to most retirees, then offer a few new items that may apply to you for the 2021 tax year.

Let’s get started!

Eligible Medical Deductions

Any eligible medical costs that you pay that exceed 3% of your net income can be deducted when you complete your income tax return this year. A couple usually should combine all medical expenses on one tax return – usually the one with the lowest income – to gain the highest value deduction.

  • Eligible medical expenses are those payments made by you or your spouse that were not fully reimbursed by an insurance plan. Some examples that you should explore:
  • Prescribed medications
  • Payments to a medical doctor, dentist, and most paramedical service providers such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapy, etc. You can review CRA’s complete list of medical expenses that may be eligible for tax deductions at this page on the Revenue Canada website..
  • Premiums that you paid for any health service plan other than MSP.
    • If you participate in our Johnson Insurance with Prestige Travel Plan you should receive a letter that itemizes your claimable premiums as well as your claims history that shows your eligible deduction. If you don’t see this by March 16, follow up with them.
    • If you participate in MEDOC and have requested a letter that shows the eligible amount of premiums in a previous year you should receive it soon. This year’s tax notices are scheduled to be sent out in February. If you are a MEDOC participant but have never requested this notice, call Johnson at 1.800.563.0677 and you will automatically receive one every year.
    • If you are signed up for Extended Health Coverage with Green Shield and premiums are deducted from your Teacher’s Pension Plan payments, GSC premiums are always shown in Box 135 of the T4 you received from TPP. See more about tracking GSC claims at https://www.bcrta.ca/gscclaims

BC Recovery Benefit and the one-time payment for people receiving Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Both the BC Recovery Benefit and the Federal one-time payment for seniors programs have been closed. If you received either of these during the eligible period, remember that they are tax-free payments. You do not need to report them on your income tax form.

The Canada Caregiver Credit

The Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC) is a non-refundable tax credit that may be available to you if you support a spouse, common-law partner or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment. For detailed information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html.

Disability Tax Credit

The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they pay. For detailed information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/information-medical-practitioners/eligibility-criteria-disability-tax-credit.html.

Age tax Credit

If you were 65 or older on Dec. 31, 2020 you may claim an age tax credit. The credit is geared to income with the maximum discount for those whose income is less than $$38,508, and the credit is gradually eliminated as your income increases. There is a corresponding provincial tax credit as well. This deduction can also be transferred to a spouse. For detailed information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-301-amount.html.

Seniors Renovation Tax Credit (BC)

We know that people who continue to live independently enjoy many benefits, but changes may be required to your residence to enable you to stay in your home. If you are a senior who has made modifications to your home for accessibility reasons you may qualify for the British Columbia Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. Use form 5010-S12 Schedule BC(S12) to apply for this credit.

Source: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/income-taxes/personal/credits/seniors-renovation

Charitable Donations

Tax credits are available for donations made to registered charities. In a spousal relationship, the claim can be split or attributed to either person to provide the greatest tax advantage. For detailed information see https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/giving-charity-information-donors/claiming-charitable-tax-credits.html.

Political contributions

Tax credits are available for any contributions you and your spouse made to registered federal political parties or British Columbia political parties. For more information about the federal credit visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/income-tax.html.
For British Columbia credits go to https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/provincial-territorial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-provincial-corporation-tax/british-columbia-political-contribution-tax-credit.html.

Payment Options

If you are among the 16% of Canadians that owe tax after filing, you now can pay using a credit card, PayPal, or Interac e-Transfer (See Payments to the Canada Revenue Agency on the CRA website).

Sign up for Direct Deposit with your Revenue Canada account to receive your refund deposited into your bank account. Learn more, log in or register via this page on Revenue Canada’s website.

Other Options

You can now also file a return electronically on CRA’s website. You will have to register on the CRA website MY Account service to do this. Once you have registered, you can take advantage of CRA’s “Auto-fill My Return” Feature, which will speed up the entry of information.

Need Help Filing Your Return?

Using commercially available tax filing software can make the process of doing your taxes less stressful. With helpful calculations, guides and prompts regarding eligible deductions and required forms, using tax filing software will be, for most people, quicker and more accurate than traditional methods using a pen, paper and two pots of coffee. Many software offerings allow several filings on one license, meaning you can cover the people in your household with one purchase. A computer-literate relative might help. Filing as a household with your spouse is made easier, as most personal tax software automatically calculate the best tax-splitting options for couples. Another benefit is that programs will keep track of your filings for one tax year and provide continuity for future filing.

There are several low-cost or free tax filing programs available on-line. Search for “on-line tax filing.” A listing provided by CRA can be found by visiting https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/community-volunteer-income-tax-program.html.

There are also many volunteer run tax preparation clinics at Seniors’ and Community Centers around the province.

CRA Scams

We always remind members that there are unfortunately a lot of fraudsters who try to take advantage of seniors by pretending to be a collection agency or government official. Often these are strange recorded calls, or sometimes it will be a person phoning you.

By being alert to fraud, you won’t fall for fake phone calls, e-mails or letters pretending to be from the CRA. Canada Revenue Agency will never contact you demanding your credit card number. If you receive one of these contacts, it is important to provide NO information.

To ensure that you are dealing with an authorized CRA representative, always follow up on any questions you have by calling 1-800-959-8281 or check your CRA My Account on-line.

Your Receipts

Make sure you have all your receipts before you file. That includes both income (T4 and T5) and medical and charitable expense receipts. It feels good to file, but don’t jump the gun and send in an incomplete tax filing. If you collect a pension from the Teachers’ Pension Plan but haven’t yet received your T4A form from the TPP, you can contact them at 1-866-876-8877.

 

New for the 2021 Tax Year

One-time Payment Program Produces Some Incorrect Tax Slips – Correction in Place

In 2021, the federal government issued a one-time payment for older seniors (born on or before June 30, 1947) to assist them with expenses incurred during the pandemic. Details about the program can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/one-time-payment-older-seniors.html

However, due to an administrative error, some recipients of the One-Time Payment for Older Seniors received an incorrect tax slip in which the payment amount of $500 was incorrectly entered into the document twice. All individuals who received an incorrect tax slip will be issued amended tax slips in time for the tax filing season, along with a letter explaining how to report the correct amount on their tax slip.

The tax slips available on the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account for Individuals are correct. When completing your tax return, the correct information will be included if you are using “Auto-fill My Return”.

Delayed One-time Payment tax slips

Some tax slips for the one-time payment may be delayed up to the week of March 14, 2022.

No withholds

No taxes or deductions will be withheld from your $500 payment.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/one-time-payment-older-seniors.html

Still Working? What You Need to Know About CPP Choices for 65-70 Year Olds

From age 65 to 70, an employee can elect to stop making further contributions to the CPP, by completing form CPT30 from CRA.  Once the form is completed, a copy must be given to the employer, and the original sent to CRA. The election would take effect on the first day of the month following the month that the form is filed with the employer, so cannot be backdated.  The first day that the form can be completed is the day that the employee turns 65, so CPP contributions are still made for the birthday month.

Source: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/canada-revenue-agency-1-157-224551901.html

Digital News Subscription Credit

The digital news subscription tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit for amounts paid by individuals to a qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO) for qualifying subscription expenses after 2019 and before 2025. Individuals who have entered into an agreement with a QCJO for a qualifying subscription that is eligible, can claim the credit on Line 31350 of their T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return for the years 2020 to 2024.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/deductions-credits-expenses/digital-news-subscription.html

Medical Expenses Refund Supplement

If your adjusted family net income is less than $54,146 and your employment income is above $3,751 or more, you may qualify for this supplement.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-45200-refundable-medical-expense-supplement.html

Cryptocurrency Reporting

Many individuals are dabbling in Bitcoin and other “crypto”. There is a popular culture around cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that they live in a universe free of taxation and reporting. Not so. There can be serious penalties for those who do not report holdings. For example, see this article regarding the filing requirements for cryptocurrencies that are considered foreign property: https://www.taxtips.ca/filing/foreign-asset-reporting.htm#cryptocurrency-may-be-foreign-property 

OAS Clawback Changes

Revenue Canada institutes a “recovery tax” on your Old Age Security income when you cross a threshold of income. To see the current calculations, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/recovery-tax.html

Canadian Dividends Versus Other Investment Income

It’s too late for this tax year, but if you have income streams from investments, this article explaining how Revenue Canada treats different forms of investment income might help you plan to structure your holdings in the future. See https://www.taxtips.ca/dtc/taxcomparisons/tax-comparison-senior-2021.htm

 

This content is offered to BCRTA members as general information, not financial advice. BCRTA recommends that you speak to a Certified Financial Planner for personalized advice.

Golden Star Awards Deadline April 15, 2022

The Excellence in Public Education Committee has been exploring ways to share our teaching achievements and experiences with new generations who are developing their professional skills. We are considering hosting a workshop or webinar to help us share our stories and eventually write them in a book. We will give you details for this opportunity when they are known.

In our committee time we have also considered our Values Statements for the teaching of language and cultures in BC public schools. We have looked closely at the values around the types of resources and materials employed.

Recently our committee began to discuss our guiding values around special education provision in B.C. Schools with a goal to formulate ways to support active teacher colleagues.

Finally, we are looking forward to hearing from programs in public schools that help BC students and seniors connect. The submission deadline for our Golden Star Awards is April 15th, 2022.

If you know of a school program that features the interaction of Seniors and Students, please let them know to go to the BCRTA website for information on these awards.

www.bcrta.ca/bcrta-golden-star-awards/

Chair Steve Bailey and Co-Chair Brenda Jones

Sleep and Your Health

BCRTA Well-being Committee Chair Pat Thiesen interviews Chantale Pamplin and Rav Johal about sleep and our health, common problems and steps to take to ensure better sleep.

 

For more info, visit http://mainlandsleep.ca

What We Want for Christmas

What do you want for Christmas?

As years go by I have learned that Christmas doesn’t bring to mind the things I wish to acquire, but instead gratitude for all I have.

Amongst the things I have are the routines of Christmas. Repeating those familiar preparations gives a sense of order, of readiness and plenty. The fruitcake is baked, the caramel popcorn sits safely in its tin, and there are a variety of cookies to share with friends.

Large fabric bows hang on our heritage house windows and our ten-foot tree has the same decorations as the year before, as well at least three new ones. Three new ones? That is so there will be one of each for my girls when I am no longer able to put up a tree.

And then, because there are now grandsons, I sit with the youngest to cuddle and probe, “What would you like for Christmas?”

His high-pitched voice responds, “A hot dog.”

And lo, later, in his newly-acquired hand printing I find “hot dog” on his wish list to Santa.

In that moment, I know that I already have what I want for Christmas.

Enjoy the best of the season.

Grace Wilson is President of BCRTA

BCRTA’s Al Cornes Named to TPP Board

At the request of BCRTA, the BC Teachers’ Federation recently named long-time association leader Al Cornes to the BC Teachers’ Pension Plan Board of Trustees.
Al has extensive experience in pensions and benefits, and was part of the negotiating team that facilitated the joint trust agreement structure for the pension plan twenty years ago.

Al is familiar to many retirees as a presenting expert at BCRTA’s pre-retirement workshop seminars that have educated thousands of teachers on their retirement options.

Arnie Lambert
Chair of Pensions and Benefits Committee

Excellence in Public Education Committee Supports “the Human Conversation”

CELEBRATING TEACHING

This year the Excellence in Public Education Committee is exploring ways to celebrate our careers and professional contributions to what John Goodlad calls “the human conversation”. Think about a particular achievement in your career; or consider a unique programme or student-centred incentive you were part of. Watch for a call for contributions to mutual celebration.

BCTF’s “TEACH BC” RESOURCES

Another way to celebrate your curricular creativity is to consider contributing to the BCTF’s “TeachBC” website. Your best practice lesson and unit plans are welcome as a means of supporting in-service teachers – particularly those new to the profession.

If you are interested in participating, learn more at https://www.bctf.ca/classroom-resources

OUR VALUES

The Committee is also developing some “excellence in public education” values statements to support best practice. The first area we will look at is the teaching of languages and cultural heritages in our province and in Canada generally. This investigation will enable us to advocate for best practice in our schools.

GOLDEN STAR AWARDS

The Golden Star Awards programme for 2021-2022 is about to be publicized across the province over the next few months. Application forms are on the BCRTA website. Share them with teachers in your community who are engaged in programming that brings students together with seniors in an on-going inter-generational educational setting. The next deadline for applications is April 15, 2022.

The current Excellence in Public Education committee consists of Grace Wilson, Annette O’Connor, Janice Androsoff, Caroline Malm (past chair), Brenda Jones (co-chair) and Steve Bailey (chair).

Travel Insurance Comparison

Compare Travel Insurance Plans

A brief overview of the newly offered Green Shield Travel Insurance versus the BCRTA Johnson Travel Insurance Plans.

BCRTA's Well-being Committee educates and advocates

BCRTA’s Well-being Committee Spans Education and Advocacy

BCRTA's Well-being Committee educates and advocates

BCRTA’s mission is to promote the well-being of our members and seniors in general. As such, BCRTA has pursued this goal in different ways over the years. A few years ago, a comprehensive view of well-being led to the Well-Being Committee being formed by the amalgamation of two previous BCRTA committees – Housing and Health.

A major focus of the Well-being Committee is to provide knowledgeable, up-to-date, well-researched and interesting articles in PostScript and Connections for members and all other seniors who could benefit from the information.

The committee writes about personal experiences and health research that is relevant to members and other seniors.

The committee also works to actively advocate for and engage members on issues that fall under the committee’s mandate. When issues or events are identified that affect the health and security of seniors, the committee ensures that the BCRTA board receives the appropriate background material to ensure effective advocacy.

As part of its education focus, the committee has recently begun producing short webinar segments on topics relevant to seniors.

Submitted by Pat Thiesen, Chair
December 2021

2021-2022 Board: Continuity and New Faces

NEW AND RETURNING DIRECTORS

The 76th Meeting of the BCRTA saw Grace Wilson acclaimed for a second year as President. New faces on the board are Brenda Jones of Surrey and Stephanie Koropatnick, from Parksville-Qualicum.

In her remarks, Grace Wilson commented about the many ways in which the BCRTA advocates for, supports and reaches out to our members. While our circumstances will always be changing, she emphasized the importance of serving our members and caring for the resources of the association.

A number of directors have new responsibilities for 2021-2022. Notably, Caroline Malm will serve as both 2nd Vice-President and as Chair of Finance. Gerry Tiede continues on as a member of the
Pensions and Benefits Committee, which now has 1st Vice-President Arnie Lambert as chair. Terry Green moves to chair the Communications committee, while Pat Thiesen now chairs the Well-being Committee. Steve Bailey has been named chair of the Excellence in Public Education committee and continues as ACER-CART representative.

Directors continuing in their roles from last year include Dave Scott (Membership), and Janice Androsoff (Heritage).