Inflation in Manitoba is among the highest in Canada. Taxes in Manitoba are amongst the highest in Canada. And, the system by which the Manitoba government funds the education system is very antiquated. Taken together, this means that those living in Manitoba, especially those on fixed or low incomes — many of whom are seniors — are left feeling the burden.
Although the NDP broke their promise to fully remove education property taxes from seniors by 2014, there are nonetheless options available to help relieve the fiscal strain associated with paying for the education system. These options take the form of tax credits and rebates. However, both must be applied for. Therefore, it is important to know the details, to ensure you are receiving what you are entitled to.
As a senior, whether you own your home or rent, you are entitled to an Education Property Tax Credit (EPTC) of up to $700. If you are a homeowner, this credit can be applied to your property tax assessment. To qualify, you must have lived in your home since Jan. 1 of the current assessment year, and you must apply before Nov. 15. After Nov.15, you can claim the credit on your personal tax return.
As a senior who rents, you may still apply for the credit on your Manitoba Income Tax Form MB479. However, it is important to remember that whether you rent or own, these credits must be applied for.
Additionally, if you are 65 years of age or older, you may qualify for additional savings via the Seniors School Tax Rebate, whereby seniors can apply to receive an additional $235. Furthermore, senior households with incomes under $40,000 may be eligible for an additional tax credit of up to $400.
The important thing to remember, however, is that: whether a credit or a rebate, homeowner or renter, to receive education property tax benefits, you must apply! Manitoba is the amazing place it is because of its people, and undoubtedly, because of its active and charitable senior population. For those who have given back so much over their lifetimes, please do not miss your chance to apply for what you are entitled to.
MLA for Emerson
Progressive Conservative Critic for Healthy Living and Seniors
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 11, 2014