The Government Covered 20% of My Vacation
Our family decided that for the first time since COVID struck, we were going to take a vacation together. As planners, we of course had to plan out our vacation, or at least some of it. So my wife and I sat down to map out a week in Niagara, complete with Airbnb rental and activities that we thought the kids would enjoy.
My parents were also going to come along, because when you have 3 kids under 6, it can be tricky figuring out how to accompany each kid on all the activities that require adult supervision; especially when so many of said activities (like go karts) only have two seats.
To make sure everyone would be happy, my wife sat down with my parents to go over the trip together. She showed off the rental that included a BBQ and a ping pong table, just in case we had a rainy day and wanted to host a family tournament. Then she went over some of the things she thought would be neat for everyone to do.
When she was finished, my Dad asked us how much he owed us for the rental.
Nothing, we replied, it was going to be our treat. I went on to explain that the government was already going to be covering 20% of the trip, so if wanted he could chip in for gas along the way and we’d call it even.
Not lost on him, the very next question was how we got the government to cover 20% of our trip.
Easy, I replied, we didn’t have to ask at all, they just offered.
I could see that my Dad was perplexed by this so I went on to explain to him that the government had announced a new Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022 that would allow us to claim 20% of the cost of our accommodations up to a maximum of $2,000 and get back up to $400 when we file our taxes.
The credit was put in place to encourage travel within the province to help the tourism and hospitality sectors in their recovery from the pandemic. The only catch was that we needed to hold on to our receipts for any of the eligible expenses.
My Dad was surprised because he hadn’t heard of this credit before. This isn’t at all uncommon. I recalled a similar situation last year with how few people knew about the Digital Subscription Tax Credit that was passed for those that get their news stories from a digital source now.
The Tax Act is incredibly complicated, and with the many frequent changes, it is almost impossible for the average person to stay up to speed every year. As such many of these offers go unclaimed simply because no one knows about them when they file their taxes.
This is why having tax planning done, and even having your taxes prepared each year by, a professional can be so beneficial. It helps you keep more money in your own pocket.
If your advisory team isn’t helping you with this type of work, I suggest you ask them why or reach out to find a team that will look after it for you. Especially today, with markets down year to date, the last thing you want is to leave another $400 on the table if you don’t have to. With inflation running high, I’m sure you can find better uses for that money, especially when it takes you so little effort to keep it in your own pocket.
Don’t leave CRA any tips if you don’t have to. You’ve worked hard for that money so you may as well enjoy it for yourself.