Sunday, November 08, 2009

CRA and Moving expenses

I hope that you find that this article is interesting and will give you some insight into some of the items to consider when moving. This will also give you some of the expenses that are deductible.

This is another in a series of articles meant to help and educate you with regards to real estate.

It’s important to know that not all moves will qualify for such tax relief. The tax rules provide that, where a taxpayer moves to be at least 40 kilometers closer to his or her place or work (for example, a taxpayer who moves from Toronto to take a job in Regina), most moving costs will be deductible from employment or business income earned at the new location. The 40- kilometer distance is measured using the shortest route normally available to the traveling public, which inmost cases would mean the distance by road. Also,moving to be closer to work doesn't have to mean moving to a new company; a job transfer to another city while continuing to work for the same employer will qualify, assuming the 40- kilometer criterion is met.

Spring is typically the busiest season for real estate sales and, consequently, the time when most moves take place. Selling one’s home and moving qualifies as one of life’s more stressful experiences, but it’s an experience that most families will go through at least once. In addition to the upheaval of leaving behind a home, a school, and a neighbourhood, the financial outlay associated with moving can be considerable. While our tax system can’t do anything to help with the non-financial costs of moving, it does, in some circumstances, minimize the financial hit by providing a deduction from income for moving expenses incurred

The list of expenses that may be deducted is fairly comprehensive, but not all moving related costs are deductible. Under the Canada Revenue Agency' administrative policies, as outlined in its Form T1-M, Moving Expenses Deduction (available on the

CRA Web site at http://www.craarc., the

following are considered eligible moving expenses:

• traveling expenses, including vehicle expenses,meals, and accommodation, to move the tax payer and members of his or her family to their new residence (note that not all members of the household have to travel together or at the same time);

• transportation and storage costs (such as packing,hauling, in-transit storage, and insurance) for household effects, including items such as boat sand trailers;• costs for up to 15 days for meals and temporary accommodation near either the old or the new residence for the members of the household;• lease-cancellation charges (but not rent) on the old residence;• legal fees incurred for the purchase of the new residence, together with any taxes paid for the transfer or registration of title to the new residence;• the cost of selling the old residence, including advertising, notarial or legal fees, real estate commissions, and any mortgage penalties paid when a mortgage is paid off before maturity; and• the cost of changing an address on legal documents, replacing driving licenses and noncommercial vehicle permits (except insurance), and utility hook-ups and disconnections.It sometimes happens, especially where, as is now the case, the real estate market is slow, that a move to the new home has to take place before the old residence is sold. In such circumstances, the taxpayer is entitled to deduct up to $5,000 in costs incurred related to the maintenance of that residence while it is vacant and efforts are being made to sell it. Specifically, costs including interest, property taxes, insurance premiums, and heat and utility expenses paid in relation to that residence may be deducted.It may seem from the foregoing that virtually all moving-related costs will be deductible; however,there are some costs that the CRA will not allow to

be deducted, as follows:

• expenses for work done to make the old residence more saleable (i.e., home-staging costs, furniture or art rental charges, cleaning costs, etc.); deduct them from income earned in subsequent years.• any loss incurred on the sale of the old residence;• expenses for job- or house-hunting trips to another city (for example, costs to travel to job interviews or meet with real estate agents);• expenses incurred to clean or repair a rental residence to meet the landlord’s standards;• costs to replace such personal-use items as drapery and carpets; and• mail-forwarding costs.To claim a deduction for any eligible costs incurred,supporting receipts must be obtained. While the receipts do not have to be filed with the return on which the related deduction is claimed, they must be kept in case the CRA wants to review them .Anyone who has ever moved knows that there are an endless number of details to be dealt with. In some cases, the administrative burden of claiming moving-related expenses can be minimized by choosing to claim a standardized amount for certain types of expenses. Specifically, the CRA allows taxpayers to claim a fixed amount, without the need

for detailed receipts, for travel and meal expenses

related to a move. Using that standardized, or flat rate,

method, taxpayers may claim up to $17 per meal, to a maximum of $51 per day, for each person in the household. Similarly, the taxpayer can claim set per-kilometer amount for kilometers driven in connection with the move. The per-kilometer amount ranges from 49.5 cents for Saskatchewan to 66 cents for the Yukon Territory. In all cases, it is the province or territory in which the travel begins that determines the applicable rate. These rates were in effect for the 2008 taxation year – the CRA will be posting the rates for 2009 on its Website early in 2010, in time for the tax-filing season.

Any moving-related expenses can be deducted from employment or self-employment income (but not investment income or employment insurance benefits) earned at the new location. Where a move takes place late in the year, it’s possible, especially where the move is a long-distance one, that such expenses will exceed income earned at the new location during the calendar year. In such cases, it's possible to carry forward the excess expenses and deduct them from income earned in subsequent years. Generally, these rules apply to moves made from one location to another within Canada. While it’s possible to deduct expenses arising from moves

from Canada to another country, from another

country to Canada, or between two locations outside of Canada, the rules governing deduction sin such situations are far more restrictive.

The rules governing the deduction of moving expenses are outlined in some detail on the CRA’sT1-M form, and any questions not answered by that form can be directed to the CRA’s individual enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.

I hope this finds you Happy and Healthy!

All the Best!


A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate

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