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5 Tax Breaks You May Not Know About
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Now that tax season is underway, it’s time to look over your financial records from last year and... more

5 tax breaks you may not know about
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Now that tax season is underway, it’s time to look over your financial records from last year and determine your options for reducing your tax liability. You should pay what you owe, of course, but why pay more than you need to?

We’ve also just passed the season for that well-known Canadian tax deduction: the registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). In the first two months of the year, many Canadians rush to their financial advisors or banks to put money into their RRSPs to get a tax deduction for the previous tax year.

There’s no doubt: Contributing to an RRSP is a great way to lower your tax bill. But the tax code is large, and you might not be aware of all the other options you may have to pay less income tax. This year, go beyond the common tax breaks you know and consider some of the others you might be eligible for.

Children’s arts amount (Line 370)
If you pay for your children to be involved in developmental, cultural, or artistic activities, you might be eligible for a tax credit. According to Mike Oseen, Senior Tax Manager at Grant Thornton LLP, this tax credit means effectively 15% of the activity fee is treated as tax paid.

For the children’s arts amount, you can take a credit of up to $500 per child for the cost of registration or membership in the activity. This applies to your spouse’s child, or your common-law partner’s child, as well as your own.

Children’s fitness amount (Line 365)
Not only are you encouraged to boost your children’s achievements in the arts, but you are also encouraged to help your child live healthier. The children’s fitness amount is a tax credit that applies to fees paid for participation in sports or some physical activity. Once again, you can claim up to $500 per child, for your child or your partner’s child.

Home-buyers’ amount (line 369)
Did you buy a home last year? If so, you might be eligible to claim up to $5,000 as a tax credit. To do so, you have to meet both the following conditions:

  1. The home you bought qualifies for the credit. (Find out if you have a qualifying home.)
  2. You didn’t live in another home you or your partner (spouse or common-law) owned last year or in any of the four preceding years.

The idea is to encourage first-time home buyers. If you have a disability, though, you don’t have to be a first-time buyer. (See persons with disabilities.)

Public transit amount (line 364)
Your efforts to be a little greener as you get to work can result in another tax advantage. If you buy monthly or annual passes for travel within Canada on qualified public transit, you can get a tax credit for what you spent last year.

Moving expenses (line 219)
Did you move to be closer to work? If so, you might be able to get a tax break for your expenses. You could be eligible for this advantage if one of the following applies to you:

  • You moved to be closer to your employer
  • You moved to carry on a business at a new location
  • You moved to study as a full-time student at a qualified post-secondary institution

You do have to move at least 40 kilometres closer to your new workplace (either a different location of your current employer or a new employer) or school to qualify, though. Eligible moving expenses include packing and moving your household goods, the cost of selling your old home, and utility hook-ups and disconnections.

Moving expenses are a little different from the other breaks mentioned in that they are a tax deduction as opposed to a tax credit (they reduce the amount of income you pay tax on, whereas a tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe).

Consider your situation and think about what you spent last year. Check with the Canada Revenue Agency or a trusted tax preparer if you aren’t sure if you are eligible for these tax breaks.

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Original source: Five tax breaks you may not know about, written by Jim Yih for © Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2013. is a thoroughly modern, free online financial resource for women in Canada today. Born out of the notion that too many smart women let their financial situation be ignored, swept under the rug or dictated by others, is rebranding finance with a feminine spin to engage women of all ages to take a greater interest—and play a greater role—in those financial issues that affect their everyday lives and financial futures.
Comments | Tagged under money, advice, taxes
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how to prevent tooth sensitivity
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If eating ice cream or sipping a hot coffee is sometimes painful, or if flossing, brushing or even breathing in cold air makes you occasionally wince you may have dental sensitivity. Over half of adults report experiencing some form of dental sensitivity that is triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks.  It is the most common dental complaint and can be very uncomfortable.  It is important to know that it can come and go over time.

What causes dental sensitivity?
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is shrinking gums. Another cause of sensitivity is excessive enamel wear.

Enamel is the protective outer coating of our teeth and is the strongest substance in the body, but it can be worn away. 
In both these situations, the layer underneath the enamel becomes exposed to the environment. This inner exposed layer, called dentin, contains thousands of tiny channels that lead directly to the nerves inside every tooth.  When this exposed layer is stimulated by coming in contact with cold, hot, or sweet foods, or even being touched by cutlery or the bristles of a toothbrush it can be painful.

Factors that lead to sensitive teeth:
How do we lose enamel?  Why do our gums shrink?

  • Fractured or cracked teeth can expose dentin
  • Worn down enamel can come from grinding at night or clenching during the day
  • Erosion of the enamel can come from eating very acidic foods or drinks or from acid reflux, bulimia or morning sickness
  • Aggressive tooth brushing or use of a hard bristled tooth brush can wear enamel down over time and may cause gum recession
  • Shrinking gums can occur if you have gum disease
  • Age alone, as we age we tend to get gum shrinkage over time

How can we treat or prevent this from happening?

  1. Proper oral hygiene, including nightly flossing and proper brushing technique (no circles or up and down movements) with a soft bristled toothbrush, and the use of a desensitizing toothpaste (they contain substances that help block sensation from travelling from the tooth surface to the nerve.  These toothpastes actually block and seal the dentin channels. They must be used every day in order to be effective, and some brands deliver instant relief from sensitivity.
  2. Cut back a bit on citrus fruits and soda pop. Wait 30 minutes before brushing after consuming acidic food or drinks to help prevent acid erosion of the enamel.  Rinse with water or chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva to wash off the teeth. Drink room temperature water and warm coffee instead of hot until your pain symptoms are under control.
  3. Dental sensitivity is usually characterized as a short, sharp pain that is brought on by eating hot or cold foods or drinks or exposure to cold air. If you have pain that lingers or is spontaneous in nature (ie. not brought on by temperature or food related) or that wakes you up in the middle of the night you must see a dentist to rule out a more serious dental condition, like severe recession or severely worn teeth from grinding.

Image of dentist from Shutterstock.

Dr. Laurel Linetsky-Fleisher is the mother of four boys and a family dentist at Brush, Floss & Smile. She has been practicing dentistry for over twenty years.
Comments | Tagged under health, advice, wellness
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