Saskatchewan budget delivers details of new programs
There may have been no new personal tax measures introduced, but the Saskatchewan budget did provide details on some new initiatives that will mean tax savings. Those who benefit may include students, homebuyers and graduates.
The latest Saskatchewan budget, released March 21, 2012, elaborated a number of programs that were announced in December of 2011 and, while it did not offer new tax credits, the government did provide more information on three new programs that could pay off at tax time.
- Active Families Benefit: The program has been expanded to include children under the age of 18. This is a refundable credit of up to $150 for the cost of registering children in cultural, recreational and sports activities.
- Saskatchewan First-Time Homebuyers Credit: If you closed on a house on January 1, 2012 or later, you may be able to claim this non-refundable credit. The definition of a first-time homebuyer is the same as the Federal Credit but it is slightly more generous. Saskatchewan covers the first $10,000 of a qualifying home purchase, resulting in tax savings of about $1,100. Disabled taxpayers do not need to meet the first-time homebuyer definition to qualify, provided they are moving into a home that is more functional or accessible for them.
- Graduate Retention Program: The credit is changing from refundable to non-refundable. This means it can no longer create a refund on its own. However, graduates who cannot use the non-refundable portion will be provided with a refundable credit equal to the unused portion. Refundable credits can create a refund, so the impact on students should be relatively minor.
The other budget measures affecting taxes were relatively minor, with a 2.8 percent indexing of the provincial tax brackets. And the basic personal amount for 2012 will rise slightly to $14,942.
Senior tax pro and national spokesperson