Reno tax credit boon to legit contractors

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by Mark Burgess on January 28, 2010

Time is running out on the federal government’s home renovation tax credit, a popular program that has been a boon to local contractors over the past year.

The program, in effect since Jan. 2009 as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus, expires Jan. 31.

Dave Mayer of Dave Mayer Construction Innovation, in Lac des Loups, said his business improved “easily 10 per cent” as a result of the program.

“It made a difference for business because we had more people who had been putting off renovations who bit the bullet and decided to do it now.”

The credit had the added benefit for legitimate contractors such as Mayer to deter homeowners from using unlicensed contractors, a popular practice in the region.

“Everyone wanted it done legit so they could get the receipt,” Mayer said. “The fly-by-nights took a beating on this one.”

The credit applies to work valued between $1,000 and $10,000 completed between Jan. 27, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2010. It can result in a maximum non-refundable tax credit of $1,350.

The credit still applies to goods purchased within this period even if they are installed after the deadline, so homeowners can still benefit by acquiring material for future renovations now.

The Canada Revenue Agency estimated that more than four million people have enquired about the program – more than 300,000 in the first two weeks of January alone.

Mayer said there’s been no mad rush for work in the program’s final month, though he has seen a spike in requests to finalize billing. He isn’t worried about work dropping off once the program ends, either, with the number of new homes being built in the region.

“We were worried since the R-word came out but we were worried about nothing. People are confident in the investment in their homes.”

Still, he said another year of the program wouldn’t hurt for all those who wanted to take advantage of the program but simply couldn’t afford to do so last year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had previously hinted that the program could be extended, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has since confirmed it will end this month.

For more information visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/hrtc/