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Brenda MacDonald
Sales Representative

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Three Government Actions to Stimulate the Ontario Housing Industry

1. First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit

Budget 2009 proposes to introduce a new non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $5,000 for first-time home buyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (i.e. the closing is after that date). The credit for a taxation year will be calculated by reference to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year and is claimable for the taxation year in which the home is acquired.

An individual will be considered a first-time home buyer if neither the individual nor the individual's spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the calendar year of the home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years. A qualifying home is one that is currently eligible for the Home Buyers' Plan that the individual or individual's spouse or common-law partner intends to occupy as the principal place of residence not later than one year after its acquisition.

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2. The Home Renovation Tax Credit

Budget 2009 also proposes to implement a temporary 15-per-cent Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) to provide some $3 billion in tax relief to an estimated 4.6 million Canadian families. The HRTC will encourage investments in Canada's housing stock, provide employment for trades people and boost sales for those who make and sell building products.

The HRTC will apply to eligible home renovation expenditures for work performed, or goods acquired, after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010, pursuant to agreements entered into after January 27, 2009.

The 15-per-cent credit may be claimed on the portion of eligible expenditures exceeding $1,000 but not more than $10,000, and will provide up to $1,350 in tax relief.

Additional information on the Home Renovation Tax Credit is available on the Canada Revenue Agency's website at

3. Home Buyers' Plan Enhanced

The government has earmarked $15 million to nudge Canadians with RRSPs into buying homes. Now homebuyers can withdraw $25,000 tax free from their RRSP to buy or build a first home - up from $20,000.

The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program that allows the withdrawal up to $25,000 from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) to buy or build a qualifying home for the homebuyer or for a related person with a disability.

Only the individual who is entitled to receive payments from the RRSP (the annuitant) can withdraw funds from an RRSP. Withdrawals can be made from more than one RRSP as long as the homebuyer is the annuitant (plan owner) of each RRSP. The RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts. Generally, withdrawal of funds from a locked-in RRSP is not allowed.

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