Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tax credit may drive additional home renovations

January’s federal budget introduced a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit of 15 per cent (up to a maximum of $1,350) for eligible home renovations and alterations, including things like renovating a kitchen, building a deck, installing a new furnace or purchasing new windows.
The federal government explained that the purpose of the tax credit is to provide a temporary incentive for Canadians to undertake new renovation projects or accelerate planned future projects, with the overall goal of stimulating the Canadian economy and boosting the energy efficiency of Canada’s homes.
For homeowners who were already considering renovations, it would seem to make sense to take advantage of the 2009 tax credit. However, an increase in renovations will also mean an increased demand for contractors, which may lead to opportunists taking advantage of eager homeowners.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario advises that home repair rip-offs are among the most common types of scams. The BBB warns that the contracting industry is “plagued with fly-by-night scam artists that show up on your doorstep offering to do house and yard work for exorbitant fees.”
According to the Bureau, home repair rip-off artists typically request that you pay fees up front before the work is completed, refuse to provide a written receipt and complete work poorly. Homeowners are advised to watch out for companies that knock on your door offering to do work, regularly over bill or that charge for services you have not requested.
The BBB suggests getting estimates from a minimum of three contractors who have permanent addresses in your area.

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