#FinancialFridays: Get Rewarded for Staying Local

Get Rewarded for Staying Local!

Ontarians get a privilege to enjoy a new, temporary and refundable Staycation Tax Credit of 20% that came into effect on January 1, 2022 and will be available until the end of the year.

With the first long weekend upon us, it’s a good reminder to keep any and all receipts related to travel. For eligible accommodation expenses, reimbursement could be up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family. This translates to a maximum credit of $200 or $400, respectively.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be “vacation”, if you have to stay overnight due to family emergencies and other “unfun” reasons to be in a motel or hotel, you can still claim the credit.

After two long years of on and off COVID-19 lockdowns to protect ourselves and neighbours, most of us are delighted that the province is now opening up and helping local businesses recover from the pandemic loss by promoting local travel.

It’s hard to save up to travel with inflation and all the extra expenses. But if you are careful and deliberate with your budget, and focused on that time, it could be possible. I know I put every loonie and toonie into a piggy bank for vacation savings. It’s there for an emergency if one comes up, but it’s also there for that long planned trip to Canada’s Wonderland.

Next year, when it is time to submit your 2022 personal income tax returns, you can claim this refundable tax credit of 20%. For basic income tax understanding, BOTH the refundable and non-refundable tax credit is subtracted from the income you have earned for the year.

No payment will be received for a non-refundable tax credit, hence the term “non-refundable”. However, for the refundable tax credit such as Ontario’s Staycation Tax Credit, you will receive a refund as long as you do not owe any taxes to the government. If you do owe taxes, the credit must exceed the amount of taxes you owe so you can receive that calculated difference as a paid refund.

To be eligible for this exciting new Personal Income Tax credit, all you need to do is PLAN your staycation wisely with your limited and carefully saved vacation time and dollars and explore within Ontario! Here are the remaining long weekends of the year to consider planning for:

Victoria Day: Monday, May 23, 2022
Canada Day: Friday, July 1, 2022
Labour Day: Monday, September 5, 2022
Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 10, 2022
Christmas Day: Sunday, December 25, 2022
Boxing Day: Monday, December 26, 2022

IMPORTANT: You could only claim the accommodation portion of your vacation stay towards your credit. To make sure your claim is valid, detailed receipts or paid invoices must include the following information:

  • The GST/HST paid
  • The date of stay
  • The name of the payor
  • Location of the accommodation
  • The amount that can reasonably be considered to be the accommodation portion of a stay*

To be eligible for this Personal Income Tax credit, he following conditions must be met:

• Stay must be between Jan 1, 2022 to Dec 31, 2022
• Paid by Ontario tax filer, their spouse, common-law partner, or eligible child
• Expense has not been reimbursed to the Ontario tax filer, their spouse, common-law partner, or eligible child
• Expense is subject to GST/HST
• Expense incurred for leisure

Ontario families, go ahead and enjoy your well-deserved staycations as you rediscover the best of what our province has to offer! Just make sure your travel expenses is well within your budget for the year. Making happy memories does not need to be costly, it can be a simple day away for cheap. Watch out for festivals or community events that can liven up your staycations.

I like to collect coupons for discounts and freebies especially from fast food chains! Buy SALE items and best-before-date food items at the grocery stores, which can be handy for picnics and long travel with kids needing a snack to keep them entertained during travels.

Don’t forget to keep a good record of your travel dates and keep all detailed receipts and invoices for all your paid accommodations at a cottage, hotel, RV camping sites, or any paid staycations anywhere in Ontario this year.

–     Sharon Safra, Financial Literacy Program Coordinator

Do you know someone who may need help with budgeting or basic financial planning or money saving tips? Our Financial Literacy Program can help. Contact Sharon Safra at 519-378-4773 or email her directly at advice@unitedwaybg.com