Family formula strives to keep taxes low

All across our large riding, families are adjusting to the new daily routines of going back to school.

All across our large riding, families are adjusting to the new daily routines of going back to school. I have been spending a great deal of time reviewing the details of the efforts our Conservative government has made to be of assistance to hard- working Canadians raising their families.

Safeguarding financial prosperity starts with strong Canadian families. Our government is determined to continue to keep taxes low for Canadian families.

The facts and figures show clearly that the average family of four now receives more than $3,200 in extra tax savings, and the federal tax burden for all Canadians is now the lowest it has been in half a century.

The Children’s Arts and Fitness Tax Credits are truly helping Canadian families. These tax credits also work as incentives to get our youngest generation enrolled in various arts and fitness programs. Families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount up to $500 per child per credit on their income tax and benefit returns. According to the 2012 Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit provided an estimated $120 million to hard-working families in 2012 alone.

Our First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is a big help to families and helps make the transition into home ownership more affordable. Taxpayers who bought their first home this year might be eligible to claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $5,000 on their income tax and benefit return. In its first two years alone, more than 550,000 Canadians claimed the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, which resulted in more than $2.5 billion claimed.

The Family Caregiver Tax Credit helps Canadians cope with added responsibilities of caring for disabled or ill parents or relatives. It provides a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $2,040 to caregivers of dependent relatives.

And finally, the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) allows Canadians aged 18 or over to set money aside tax-free. Each calendar year, we can contribute up to $5,500 to our TFSA.

All income earned in and withdrawals from a TFSA are generally tax-free. By the end of 2012, more than 9 million Canadians had opened a TFSA, and half of those TFSAs were held by Canadians with an income of less than $40,000.

As your member of Parliament, I take every opportunity to encourage everyone in our Crowfoot riding to open a TFSA, if possible, and make sure the members of your family have a TFSA.

TFSAs have become increasingly popular, with more than 9 million Canadians having opened an account and about 2.5 million Canadians contributing the maximum in 2011.

I encourage all Canadian families to visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at cra.gc.ca for more information about these programs and other tax savings for which they might be eligible. Remember, save your receipts for 2013, because you might be eligible to claim these credits on your income tax and benefit return when you file your taxes in 2014.

Anyone who has questions for Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson is invited to write him at 4945-50 Street, Camrose, AB, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or email Kevin.Sorenson.c1@parl.gc.ca.

— From The Hill