Office of Consumer Affairs
In this month's issue of Consumer Edge, we provide information to help you better understand your mortgage and file your taxes.
Financial setbacks and your mortgage
If you experienced a financial setback this past year, you're not alone. The first step to getting back on track is to take stock of your financial situation and make a budget. You can start by making a list of your:
- financial obligations, such as your bills and debts
- assets, such as your income, savings and investments
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's budget planner can help you map out your financial future.
But if you're struggling to pay your bills and considering skipping a mortgage payment, contact your lender at the first sign of trouble to discuss a tailored solution that meets your needs.
For example, CMHC insured mortgages help provide lenders with the tools and flexibility they need to help you find a solution. These can include:
- Short-term mortgage payment deferrals
- Extending the original repayment period (amortization)
- Adding missed payments (arrears) to the mortgage balance
- Moving from variable to fixed interest rates
- Special payment arrangements
In every case, the options available will depend upon your individual financial circumstances.
Considering breaking your mortgage? Check out these resources first
Are you considering breaking your mortgage contract to take advantage of lower rates? Has your financial situation changed? It's always a good idea to weigh the costs and benefits of breaking your contract before switching your mortgage to another lender. You might also consider these tips to reduce or avoid prepayment penalties before making a decision about breaking your mortgage.
If the current conditions of your mortgage contract no longer meet your needs, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a number of resources to help you make informed decisions about your mortgage.
Tax season: What's different this year?
Interest relief measure
If you had a total income of $75,000 or less and received one or more eligible COVID-19 benefits, you will not be required to pay interest on any outstanding income tax debt for the 2020 tax year until April 30, 2022. Personal income tax filing deadlines remain the same, however, and can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Home office expense deductions
If you worked from home during 2020, you may be able to claim deductions for home office expenses, such as:
- work-space-in-the-home expenses
- office supplies
- certain phone expenses
To be considered eligible for these deductions you must have worked from home for more than 50% of the time for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020.
To make it easier for you to access these deductions, the Government of Canada is allowing Canadians to file claims using either the "temporary flat rate method" or the "detailed method".
Remember! Each individual is entitled to file their own claims, regardless of how many people are working from the same home.
New! Digital Media Tax Credit
Did you subscribe to digital news services in 2020? The Digital Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $500 for subscriptions to qualifying media, such as newspapers, magazines, websites and podcasts.