Budget 2015: What it means for you, at a glance
Published Wednesday, April 22, 2015 8:43AM EDT
The Conservative government’s budget promises something for nearly everyone, from students to families to seniors.
Focusing on the pocketbook measures in the 518-page fiscal plan tabled on Tuesday, here is what the budget could mean for you:
If you’re trying to save money
As of this year, the government plans to increase the annual contribution limits to tax-free savings accounts to $10,000 from $5,500. That was a promise made during the last election campaign, with the goal of encouraging more Canadians to stash away money for a rainy day or a big purchase, such as a first home.
However, the Opposition and other critics have said that the TFSA changes will only benefit the wealthy who have $10,000 to set aside each year.
If you’re a senior
The budget plans to reduce the minimum withdrawal amounts for the Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). Under the current law, seniors must draw minimum amounts from their RRIFs annually, starting at 7.38 per cent at the age of 71, and maxing out at 20 per cent at 94 years old. The proposed new RRIF minimum withdrawals would start at 5.28 per cent at the 71 and cap at 20 per cent at the age of 95.
The government also introduced a tax credit for seniors and the disabled who need renovations to make their homes more accessible.
If you’re a student
Starting in 2016, the government plans to provide $119 million to reduce the expected parental contribution to the Canada Student Loans Program. The budget suggested the measure would provide increased support to 92,000 students.
Clawbacks for students who work part-time and depend on the Canada Student Loan Program are also expected to be eliminated.
The government also plans to expand eligibility for low- and middle-income Canadians hoping to access student grants for short-term educational programs, so that they can upgrade their skills.
If you’re a parent or a caregiver
The budget includes an enhanced universal child care benefit, which provides $160 per month for children under the age of six and $60 per month for those between the ages of six and 17.
And, as previously announced, the budget includes a measure that will allow couples with children to split their income for tax purposes. Income-splitting has been strongly criticized by the NDP and the Liberals, who say it only benefits those who are well-off.
If you’re taking care of a dying loved one, a new budget measure would allow you to take up to six months off work, instead of the current six weeks. The budget has set aside an extra $37 million each year for compassionate care benefits under employment insurance.
If you are a small business owner
The budget calls for a gradual reduction of the small business tax rate, from the current 11 per cent to 9 per cent by 2019. Nearly 700,000 small businesses are expected to benefit.
Whether the proposed benefits will materialize depends on how quickly the government can get the budget passed ahead of the October federal election.
The budget measures are clearly targeting the voters who are already on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s side, political analyst Scott Reid told CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday.
“I think yesterday’s budget was all about locking down…the voters that are already there for him,” Reid said.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Michelle Zilio and The Canadian Press