Planning an Ontario summer getaway in 2022?
The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit is a personal income tax credit for Ontarioians to claim 20 percent of their accommodation expenses for vacations taken this year. The maximum is $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, which means savings of up to $200 or $400, respectively.
Ontario residents can apply for this refundable credit when they file their 2022 personal income tax returns, whether they owe any tax or not. Although depending on your income level, you may be better off not paying HST and not getting the Staycation tax credit. Consider your time value of money. If you pay for a trip in July and receive the benefit in April 2023, you’re not getting the benefit right away.
If you’re moving out of the province after your Ontario staycation this year, you’re out of luck with the tax credit. You’re only eligible to claim the credit if you are still an Ontario resident as of December 31, 2022.
Only one member of a family can claim the credit. Your claim can include the eligible expenses of your spouse/common-law partner and your children for multiple trips. This will come in especially handy for parents who travel for their children’s sports teams all summer long, They won’t have to pay more for the credit.
The accommodation expenses must have been paid by you or the member of the family who will be claiming the tax credit, as set out on a detailed receipt provided by an accommodation supplier that is registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). You must keep the detailed receipts for any eligible expenses you plan to claim for the credit. Those “detailed” receipts must include:
- the location of the accommodation
- the accommodation amount of a stay
- the amount of any GST/HST paid
- the date of the stay
- the name of the payor
Where Can You Stay?
You can claim the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for accommodation expenses for short-term accommodation, such as a:
- vacation rental property
To be able to claim your accommodation, make sure to book directly with the accommodation provider (through their own website) or through an online accommodation platform, like Airbnb.
Where Can You NOT Stay?
The tax credit cannot be claimed for any travel expenses that are not for short-term leisure accommodation, including car rentals, groceries, gas, parking, or admission to local attractions or places of interest. The Staycation Tax Credit does not cover school, business, or medical travel expenses. Also ineligible are accommodation expenses reimbursed to you, your spouse/partner, or child, by any person, including by a friend or an employer.
What this is trying to do
It’s been a long couple of years and many in the tourism business have been hurt extensively by the pandemic. Why not help small business owners and the local economy? Explore the beauty in your own province, there’s no need to get on an airplane and deal with those ridiculously long passport lines! Besides, it’s probably cheaper to staycation in Ontario. Make some great memories with your kids and stay at places they can take their kids years later.
Where to go?
Looking for things to do with your kids this summer? Ontario has a ton of options, so there is bound to be something for you and your family.
Toronto has a lot of accommodations available for families looking to spend time at the numerous attractions Toronto has to offer, including the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre, Centreville Amusement Park, the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.
Maybe a trip to Ottawa? Show the kids Parliament Hill before an afternoon at the Canadian Children’s Museum or the Canadian Museum of Nature. Grab those swimsuits and cool off at the Calypso Theme Waterpark. Down in southwest Ontario, London has many affordable accommodations for a weekend trip. Attractions include the London Children’s Museum and Fanshawe Pioneer Village.
Thinking more of a beachy setting than urban? Ontario has a wide range of beaches, including soft sandy lake-view beaches that could double for the Caribbean. Of course, there’s Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world at 14 kilometres, located at the southern end of Georgian Bay. The warm and shallow water makes this ideal for families with small children. Then there’s Sauble Beach, with 10 kilometres of sand stretching along Lake Huron on the Bruce Penninsula. It’s well set up with restaurants by the beach serving typical beach food, including hot dogs, ice cream, and other snacks.
What about beaches without so many other people? Sandbanks Provincial Park is located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County, near Belleville. It’s home to one of the most unique beaches in Ontario with large sand dunes that go down into the water. The park has three beaches: Outlet Beach is perfect for families with small children, as the water is shallow and warm. Dunes Beach is the spot where the sand dunes descend into the water. Lakeshore is a 7-kilometre-long beach with fine sand that slopes gently into the water. It also happens to be rarely crowded.
Your family may want to consider Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands, which offers hotels, restaurants, biking trails, and a Big Sandy Beach. Or Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, the largest lake island in the world, large enough that it has over 100 inland lakes itself. Both of these islands have thriving tourism economies, including plenty of accommodations. There is no shortage of things to do during your visit to either island. Travellers can take part in a variety of activities and events throughout the year.
There’s no shortage of places to Staycation with your family in Ontario this year. Be sure to book your accommodation ahead of time and ensure they are registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Have Fun!