These are the tax credit amounts for the 2014 tax year:
Basic Personal $11,138.00
Age Amount (65+) $6,916.00
Infirm & Family $6,589.00
Child Amount < 18 $2,255.00
Child Amount < 6 $2,255.00
Pension Amount $2,000.00
Medical Exp. $2,171.00 (in excess of 3% net inc)
Education PT $120.00 / mo
Education FT $400.00 / mo
Textbooks PT $20/mo
Textbooks FT $65/mo
Canada Employment $1,127.00
These are all deductions that count against your taxes owed. The way it works is any of the above that are applicable are added up, then multiplied by .15 (15%) and the result is subtracted from your tax owing.
Most of these are non-refundable, meaning they can only be used in the year they are generated.
Student credits, however, are refundable, meaning they can be carried forward indefinitely.
The reason they are only multiplied by 15% is because the first tier of federal tax is levied at 15%. It keeps the playing field balanced, because if the credits were applied from the top down, meaning at the highest tax bracket possible, the higher tier tax payers would benefit the most. This way, everyone benefits the exact same from the tax credits. Anyone paying tax, that is.
More details can be obtained here: http://www.taxtips.ca/nrcredits/tax-credits-2014-base.htm
There are even more credits that can be applied to reduce your taxes:
Bus Pass Receipts
First-time Homebuyer’s Amount
First-time donation Super Credit
*RRSP Contributions require some forethought. There has to be room in your contribution limit (you can find this information online with your CRA account, OR on your latest Tax Assessment).
Also, you can contribute to RRSPs within the first 3 months of the year and apply the credits to your previous years’ tax return. RRSP contributions are credited at the highest tax bracket possible, since they are literally coming off the top of your income. It is quite possible to generate a sizeable tax return by making your contributions just before you file your taxes. Money in the bank AND in your pocket!
You can also deduct any expenses that you are required to spend in the pursuit of your income: driving expenses for drivers, home office expenses, travel expenses, etc etc.
Be sure to keep the receipts for any of these expenses! They are as good as gold come tax time.