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Can I claim this on my taxes? Add to ...

If you find yourself staring at a blank tax return form and a shoebox full of crumpled receipts, it might be time to get your act together. But try not to panic.

"When time is not on your side, you are in a rush," says Cleo Hamel, a senior tax analyst with H&R Block Canada. "If you owe money and don't pay on time, the panic is that you will have to pay a penalty."

Ms. Hamel joined H&R Block in January, 2000, as a tax associate and was a tax course instructor, an assistant district manager and district manager before taking her current position in 2006. Prior to joining H&R Block, she was an independent financial adviser, with a broker's license, in the Calgary area.

Ms. Hamel joined us live to answer your questions about income tax filing. A transcript of the discussion follows:

11:54 Dianne Nice - Hi, thanks for joining us for our tax discussion with Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst at H&R Block in Calgary. We'll start in a few minutes, but you can begin submitting your questions now.

12:06 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Always a pleasure to provide tax information to your viewers.

12:06 [Comment From Sidd]

Is there an exhaustive list of questions or points Ontario Residents should consider to ensure they have covered all deductions or maximize tax refunds?

12:08 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Sidd - Unfortunately, there is no list. You have to do the leg work yourself by researching and talking to tax professionals.

12:08 [Comment From Bob]

I have been paying medical expenses for my mother(she is not a dependent) Can I claim these?

12:10 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Bob - If you mother is not a dependent, you would not be able to claim medical expenses you paid for her. She has to be to depend on you for support to make the claim.

12:10 [Comment From Gina]

Hi, I have a question about the medical expenses. I have a skin condition for which my GP sent me to a dermatologist. The solutions she proposed didn't work, so I chose to do Intense Laser therapy on my skin, which is not a medical treatment covered by OHIP. Can I claim this laser treatment as a medical expense on my taxes? This treatment was not prescribed per say by my doctor, but it is to treat a skin condition for which the GP referred me to a specialist. Thanks!

12:12 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Gina - Whether or not you can claim the laser therapy is not based on if it is covered by OHIP, but rather if the laser therapy treatment was preformed by a medical practioner.

12:12 [Comment From Guest]

Are my rent payments deductible?

12:13 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Guest - Credits for personal rent paid can only be claimed in Manitoba or Ontario.

12:14 [Comment From AP]

Can i deduct some home office expenses if i've been planning for a business throughout the year? it hasnt got off ground yet (i.e. no revenues), but hopefully will in 2011

12:14 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

AP - If your business operations have not commenced, yet, you are not able to claim expenses.

12:14 [Comment From Ray]

Are the interest fees I pay on money I have borrowed to invest tax deductable?

12:16 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Ray - Interest paid on money borrowed to earn investment income is deductible unless it is in a registered plan, such as an RRSP, TFSA, and therefore cannot be deducted.

12:16 [Comment From Al]

Hi. I used to live with my elderly parents and claimed the caregiver amount in previous years. However, both my parents and I have moved to two different places in July last year. Can I still claim the caregiver amount for 2010? Thanks.

12:19 [Comment From Cleo Hamel]

Al - Yes, you can still make a claim for 2010, since you lived together at some time in the year. In future years, you will not be able to unless you start living together again.

12:19 [Comment From Jignesh]

Hi I am Jignesh. I am a Foreign Trained Professional and got my Credentials assessed with CGA Ontario. I paid $350 to get it assessed. Can I claim Tax Credits for this payment .

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