The 2010 Federal Budget is optimistic by my financial planning standards, relying on slow growth in government spending and healthy growth in the economy hoping to balance the books by 2014-15.  This year’s budget has very little impact for most people. Here are the highlights pertaining to your personal finances :

What was not changed :

– no extension of the popular home renovation tax credit

– no tax cuts either

– no TFSA and RRSP limits increase either. 

What was changed (with excerpts from the National Post and CBC news)

Stock options relief: relief has finally emerged for many employees who exercised employee stock options and deferred their tax obligations until the date of sale of the underlying shares, only to find that the price of the shares has since plummeted in value. Read more here

For parents with a child with disability: If you have a disabled child and have contributed to a Registered Disability Savings Plan, you’ll be able to carry forward the Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSGs) and Canada Disability Savings Bonds (CDSBs) entitlements for 10 years as welll as transfer your RRSP to the RDSP upon your death.  These are truly great for parents with disabled children.

No more tax break for Cosmetic procedures: Procedures like liposuction, teeth whitening and Botox injections are no longer covered. However, medically necessary cosmetic procedures will still qualify for a tax break.

Child tax benefit can now be shared: The budget also changes the rules for parents who share custody of a child, when it comes to the child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit. Under current rules, only one parent can receive the benefits each month. Under new rules, both parents can share the benefit if the child lives more or less equally with two parents who live apart.

Tax treatment of the universal child care benefit – that $100 monthly payment for children under the age of six. The payment is currently taxed as income in the hands of the spouse with the lowest income in a two-parent family. That means a single parent may end up paying more tax than a single-income couple even if their respective incomes are the same. Under rules coming into effect this year, a single parent will have the option of including the aggregate universal child care benefit amount received in their income or in the income of the dependant for whom an eligible dependant credit is claimed. The measure will provide $168 in tax relief for single parents with one child under six in 2010, the budget document says.

Prohibiting negative-option billing in the financial sector. A financial institution won’t be able to bill you for products or services unless you’ve agreed to them.

Mortgage penalties: standardization of the calculation and disclosure of mortgage pre-payment penalties. That is so welcome!

Cheques holding period: Reducing from seven days to four, the maximum time a financial institution can hold funds from a cheque you deposit to your account. As well, the institution would have to allow you to access up to $100 from that cheque within 24 hours.

Read the full budget plan here or more info in tomorrow newspapers.