Manitoba’s Primary Caregiver Tax Credit

The Primary Caregiver Tax Credit is for Manitobans to recognize the invaluable role they play as a caregiver for another person. In order to receive this tax credit the person requiring care must be assessed under the Manitoba Home Care Program guidelines as being a Level 2 or higher.

Assessments are done based upon the amount of assistance that is required by the person being cared for. This will be based on activities such as dressing, mobility, bathing, eating meals and receiving medical care. The reason the person needs care is not a determining factor, that can be because of disability or old age.

Eligibility

To be eligible you must reside in Manitoba. It is also necessary that you are providing your services on a volunteer basis. The care can be given to a family member (including spouse) or a friend. You cannot receive this credit if this is paid employment. As long as the client is level 2 or higher, you will qualify.

In order to qualify, the caregiver must be first identified by the recipient of the care as being the primary caregiver. A Primary Caregiver Tax Credit application form must be completed by both the care recipient and the caregiver. Should the client be under the age of 18, it will need to be completed by the parents.

The person whom you are caring for must be assessed by either Family Services, Consumer Affairs, Regional Health Authority or a health care professional (physician, social worker, nurse) as needing what is referred to as Home Care Level 2 or above.

This will mean that they have significant cognitive, physical or behavioural restrictions. For instance, they may require assistance with activities such as meal preparation or shopping. They also need help with personal care tasks that would include eating, dressing, bathing or medication. They could as well seek advice on a regular basis when it comes to decision-making or emotional support.

The credit is designed to help cover the many expenses that can occur when caring for someone. This may include gas for trips to the doctors or outings for recreation. It can also cover the cost of respite care should you need a regular break.

It is necessary that the person whom you are caring for resides in a residential home. If they are in the hospital, group home or old age home, even if you are providing care you will not qualify. This credit is provided so people that are unable to care for themselves still have an opportunity to remain living independently.

Amount

The Primary Caregiver Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit for $1,275.00, as of January 2011. How it works is that the amount is not income-tested and is fully refundable. This will mean that even if you do not owe income taxes, you are still able to receive the tax credit.

In order to initially qualify, you must complete a three-month qualifying period. This does not need to be done each year that you claim the credit. You are allowed to earn this credit for a maximum of three clients at the same time. The total amount permitted as of January, 2011 would be $3,825.00.

The tax credit became available in 2009 so if you have been functioning as a primary care giver since then and have not claimed your tax credit you can still apply for the past years. You will just need to file an adjustment to your 2009 or 2010 income tax return. So as long as you allow for the 90-day waiting period from the time you started you can still apply for past years.

The process can take anywhere from one to three months to be completed and approved so make sure you have all your documentation filled out before you submit the application. You will have to have the person you are caring for fill in their portion and any necessary forms to determine level of care have been assessed and approved.