May 11, 2011

Ten Ways to Save Money

From the BC New Housing Rebate to low-interest renovation loans, here are some ways for homeowners and homebuyers to qualify for grants or rebates.

1. Home Buyers’ Plan
Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca. Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box. 1-800-959-8287.

2. GST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the five per cent GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36 per cent of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca. Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1-800-959-8287.

3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST)
Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43 per cent of the provincial portion (seven per cent) of the 12 per cent HST paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250. www.hstinbc.ca. 800-959-8287.

4. BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)
Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST, up to $26,250 per unit. http://www.hstinbc.ca. 1-800-959-8287.

5. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program
Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue. www.rev.gov.bc.ca/rpt, 250-387-0604.

6. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)
This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: Multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15 per cent in 2010) x $5,000. For the 2010 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue Agency, www.cra.gc.ca/hbtc. 1-800-959-8281.

7. BC Home Owner Grant
Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,150,000. For 2011, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,150,000, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,264,000. An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,150,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,319,000+. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, www.rev.gov.bc.ca/hog or contact your municipal tax office.

8. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs
Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.
Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.
Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low-income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.
BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, www.sbr.gov.bc.ca and enter ‘Property tax deferment’ in the search box or contact your municipal tax office.

9. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10-per-cent premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving renovations. www.cmhc.ca, 604-731-5733.

10. LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program
Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with FortisBC and BC Hydro. Rebates are for energy efficient products that replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider. www.livesmartbc.ca/rebates. 1-866-430-8765.

Source: Real Estate Board 
of Greater Vancouver

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