Tax deadline sparks last-minute reno rush

The deadline for the home renovation tax credit has come and gone, causing a flurry of last minute shoppers trying to meet the Sunday night deadline.

The 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit applies to eligible expenses of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. It can reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,350. All eligible supplies purchased between Jan. 27, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2010 qualifies, as does as any work completed by a contractor in that time.

Grant Noble has been a contractor for eight years. While he focuses on restoration work, Noble has noticed an increase in private work over the past few months, including a last minute job Sunday.

“I was doing a quote on a job today,” Noble said. “I had to pick some material up from Home Depot. It was packed.”

Home Depot spokesperson Tizziana Baccega said they have noticed a significant increase in sales over the past year that they attribute to the home renovation tax credit. A lot of people have been interested in completing the work themselves Baccega said.

“There’s been an increase in our workshop attendance; those that are really teaching people specific DIY projects.” Baccega said. “Obviously that’s another way to save, if you’re doing it yourself.”

James Bazely, president of the Ontario Home Builders Association thinks the tax credit was effective overall but wishes there were more restrictions on who benefited.

“It was supposed to stimulate employment,” Bazely said. “Unfortunately there was nothing stopping the underground economy from benefiting from it as well.”

As the deadline for the home renovation tax credit quickly approaches, the Toronto Observer’s Aileen Donnelly ventured out to take the pulse of shoppers


In general, contractors think the tax credit worked but not until the last few months. Contractor George Webster experienced the last minute rush.

“I found that the people in the last month have wanted to jump on the bandwagon too late. The economy of the last year scared them too much,” he said. “I have signed some last minute jobs.”

Many would like to see the home renovation tax credit continued but Stephen Dupuis, president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association, thinks it has served its purpose.

“From a stimulus standpoint, it worked fast,” Dupuis said. “It did the job. The thing about stimulus is, it’s only stimulus if it doesn’t continue.”