November may be an interesting month for personal income tax professionals. There will likely be some changes to our federal taxes with a new Liberal Government taking over. But first I will start with some provincial tax reminders for property owners.

The Manitoba Seniors’ School Tax Rebate was introduced last year for 2014 Property Taxes. Seniors were eligible for a rebate of up to $235 on their property taxes. This year, for 2015, it has been increased to $470.

This is your reminder that you do need to apply for the credit to receive it via cheque or direct deposit. And the deadline to apply is March 31, 2016. You can apply as soon as you have paid your property taxes so by now most of you have done so at your municipal office.

And new this year was adding more eligible property owners to include those living on leased land. For example, those living in mobile home parks like Paradise Village in the RM of Ste Anne are now eligible.

You can apply via paper application or you can apply on-line. If you need help, stop by my office as I will have the forms, or I can help you apply on line.

There are some seniors that will receive less than $470 or even no rebate since their school tax portion is already reduced on their property taxes.

If you own some acreage and your property taxes have the word Farmland included, you may also qualify for the Farmland School Tax Rebate; the deadline is also March 31, 2016.

And there are some of you that may not be receiving the basic $700 education credit; either the home is new to you, or maybe there is more than one home on the property. Just make sure you claim this credit when you file your 2015 personal income taxes due April 30, 2016. You can only go back three years on your income tax for most provincial credits, so make sure you keep your tax filings up to date.

Smaller Refunds for Families

For the 2015 personal income taxes, most families with children under 18 will notice smaller refunds when they file their taxes by next April 2016.

Earlier this year, the government eliminated the Children’s Tax Credit for 2015. This was a non-refundable tax credit of $2,293 per child under age 18. The federal credits are worth 15% so that saved taxpayers $343 in taxes. That is an additional refund (or reduced taxes payable) that families will not be getting next Spring when your 2015 taxes are filed.

And secondly, remember that the UCCB (Universal Child Care Benefit) is taxable income. So when we complete your taxes next Spring, you will be including this extra $60 per month per child as income on your 2015 tax return (claimed by the spouse with the lower net income). That could be 26% to 40% taxes payable on the UCCB. Most families do not have taxes owing, they normally get refunds. So your refund will be lower than normal next Spring; up to $600 less per child.

Just giving you some warning now; don’t blame the messenger!

There is some good news for 2015 taxes for lower income families: the Children’s Fitness Credit is now a refundable credit which means families in the past that had incomes low enough that they were not paying taxes received no benefit for children that were enrolled in sports activities because it was a non-refundable credit. Now they do, since they can receive a refundable credit based on the amount they spent. There are many tax changes that may be around the corner, but until they are announced, no need to speculate. Stay tuned, and we will make sure you know of any changes that may affect your 2015 and 2016 taxes. The only tax change I suspect may be made for the 2015 taxes is the Family Tax Cut may be eliminated.

Anni Markmann is an independent financial planner and tax professional working, living, playing, and volunteering in our community. Contact her at 422-6631 or or at 36 Dawson Road in Ste Anne.