Webinar for adults 65+: Get your benefits and credits
Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired, on February 23, 2022. For the most recent information on these topics, go to the following websites: Tax credits and benefits for individuals - Canada.ca and Changes to your taxes when you retire or turn 65 years old – Canada.ca.
Hi, my name is Tim, I work at the Canada Revenue Agency, also known as the CRA. I’m very happy to be here today to talk to you about the benefit and credit payments you could be eligible for, and other services available to you.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am presenting to you from Treaty 6 territory, the traditional territory of Cree Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
We recognize that everyone on the line is joining us from different places. We invite you to take a moment to reflect on the territory that you are joining us from.
I will start the presentation with the various benefit and credit payments you could be eligible for.
I will go on to cover some common tax credits and deductions for adults over 65, and some of the services we offer.
Next, I will explain why it’s important to do your taxes on time.
And last but not least, I will tell you how to protect yourself against scams.
I will provide web addresses and telephone numbers throughout the presentation.
First up, we’ll talk about how doing your taxes has its benefits! You could be eligible for benefit and credit payments when you do your taxes. The most common one for adults over 65 is the GST/HST credit.
The GST/HST credit is a quarterly tax-free payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset the goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) that they pay.
You don’t have to apply. When you do your taxes, the CRA will determine you are entitled to the credit. If you are entitled, the CRA will issue GST/HST credit payments to you.
If you receive the Canada child benefit for your grandchild, they are also registered for the GST/HST credit and you will receive an amount for that child.
For the 2020 base year, you could receive up to:
- $456 if you are single
- $598 if you are married or have a common-law partner
- $157 for each child under the age of 19
The period for these payments is from July 2021 to June 2022.
Amounts are divided into four payments a year and are issued on the 5th of July, October, January, and April.
If you have a grandchild living with you, and you’re responsible for their daily activities and needs, you may be eligible for the Canada child benefit, or CCB for short.
The CCB is a tax-free monthly payment that helps with the cost of raising children.
Depending on the age of the child and your family net income, you can get up to $6,833 per child under the age of 6, and up to $5,765 per child aged 6 through 17, each year.
The CCB is paid to the primary caregiver of a child who is under the age of 18.
If you’ve been primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child for all or part of the last 10 years but have never received a CCB payment, you may even be able to get back-payments by applying for the benefit and doing your taxes for those years.
To get the CCB, you have to be a resident of Canada for tax purposes. You or your spouse or common-law partner also have to be:
- a Canadian citizen,
- a permanent resident,
- an Indigenous person who meets the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Act,
- a protected person,
- or a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for 18 continuous months prior to applying and continue to hold a valid permit.
Applying for the CCB will also register the child for the GST/HST credit and for most related provincial or territorial child benefit and credit payments.
If you live in Quebec, there is additional assistance to help with the cost of raising a family.
However, you will need to apply separately through Retraite Québec to get these provincial child assistance payments.
Tax credits are amounts you can claim on your tax return to reduce the income tax you may have to pay. They may even reduce your tax bill to zero! Let’s take a closer look.
You can claim the age amount of up to $7,713 on your return if you were 65 years of age or older at the end of 2021 and you meet certain conditions.
You may also be eligible to claim the corresponding provincial or territorial tax credit on your provincial or territorial Form 428.
Are you receiving a pension?
You may be able to claim up to $2,000 on your return if you receive eligible pension, superannuation, or annuity payments.
A superannuation is an amount paid out of an employee pension plan.
An annuity is a plan that makes payments to you on a regular basis. For example, It could be a general annuity, or a payment from a registered retirement income fund.
A list of eligible pension and annuity income is available on our website.
There are other ways you can help lower your tax bill.
For example, you may be able to split your pension income with your spouse or common-law partner if you meet certain conditions.
You can transfer up to half of your eligible pension income to your spouse or common-law partner, regardless of their age.
When you split your pension income with your spouse or common-law partner, you deduct the amount that you are transferring to them on your tax return.
Your spouse or common-law partner has to report this amount as income on their tax return.
To split eligible pension income, you and your spouse or common-law partner must each fill out Form T1032, Joint Election to Split Pension Income.
You have to fill this out for every year you want to split pension income.
Keep in mind that you cannot split your income from the Canada Pension Plan, Québec Pension Plan, or old age security.
For more information on pension income splitting, go to the address shown on your screen. From there, you can also get Form T1032.
The disability tax credit is commonly referred to as the DTC.
The purpose of the DTC is to provide some relief for unavoidable, additional expenses that result from living with a disability.
It helps to offset costs other taxpayers don’t have to face.
The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members.
Because it is non-refundable it reduces the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
A supporting family member can be a spouse or common-law partner, parent, grand-parent, child, grand-child, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the person with the disability.
If you’re eligible for this credit, you can claim the disability amount of up to $8,662 on your federal tax return.
A supplement for persons under 18 years of age is available if they are eligible.
Being eligible for the DTC can open the door and act as a gatekeeper to other federal, provincial, and territorial programs such as the registered disability savings plan, the Canada workers benefit, and the child disability benefit.
This aspect of the DTC is particularly important for those with a low income.
It is important that all eligible individuals apply for the DTC regardless of their taxable income in order to qualify for other disability-related programs, benefits, and plans.
They cannot access these critical programs without first qualifying for the DTC.
For more information on how to apply for the DTC, and for benefits and credits related to the DTC, we invite you to check out the webinars in our video gallery that are specific to this topic.
Now, let’s have a look at the Canada caregiver credit, or CCC for short.
The CCC is for those who support a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment.
The credit may also be claimed for an individual or their spouse's or common-law partner's child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew.
An individual is considered a dependant if they rely on you to regularly and consistently provide them with some or all of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing.
The person with the impairment must also be resident in Canada at any time in the year.
One note to keep in mind – when claiming the CCC, the CRA may ask for a signed statement from a medical practitioner for the individual
The statement would show when the impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be.
However, you don’t need one if the CRA already has an approved Form T2201, for the Disability Tax Credit, for a specified period for them.
For more information and to find out who you can claim this credit for, go to the address shown on your screen.
Next up, did you know that you could claim renovation expenses you paid to make your home more accessible?
You may be able to claim this tax credit if you own a home in Canada and you paid for eligible renovations to improve the safety or accessibility for yourself or another qualifying individual.
You can claim up to $10,000 per year in eligible expenses. This could result in a tax credit of up to $1,500.
You may qualify for this credit if you’re 65 or older, or if you qualify for the disability tax credit. If you are claiming the credit for another individual, they must also be 65 or older, or qualify for the disability tax credit.
In order to claim the home accessibility tax credit, certain criteria need to be met.
First, the renovations must be for the main residence of the qualifying person.
And second, the renovations must either be a permanent part of the home and allow the person to access the home, or be mobile or functional within the home.
Or, they must reduce the risk of harm within the home or in accessing the home.
Now, let’s look at relief for the cost of medical expenses.
Claiming them on your tax return can help you get some of that money back.
You can claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for yourselves and your children or grandchildren under 18 years of age.
You can also claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for certain family members who depended on you for support and were residents of Canada at any time in the year.
More information on who you can claim for can be found on our website.
In terms of expenses, you can claim a wide range of products, procedures, and services, such as medical supplies, dental care, and travel expenses.
But you can only claim the part of an eligible expense for which you have not been or will not be reimbursed.
So, if you’ve received a portion of the cost you paid through an insurance claim, you can’t claim the amount that was reimbursed.
You should note that most claims don’t require you to be eligible for the disability tax credit.
When claiming tax credits on your income tax return, you may not need to claim all of your tax credits to reduce your federal tax to zero.
But don’t let them go to waste!
You may be able to transfer your unused amounts to your spouse or common-law partner to reduce their federal tax.
Some of the credits that can be transferred include the age amount, the pension income amount, and the disability amount for self.
When using most tax software programs and both spouses information is provided, it will calculate the most advantageous way to move the credits around.
Let’s now look at some of the other services and tools that the CRA has to help you do your taxes and claim your benefits.
My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your individual tax affairs online.
- track your refund
- view online mail such as your notice of assessment
- check your benefit and credit payments and statements
- set up direct deposit
- change your personal information
- view any uncashed cheques, and more
When you sign into My Account, the first page you’ll see is the Overview page.
This page is constantly evolving, but it should resemble something like this.
For more information or to sign up, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account.
There are many digital services available from the CRA. Here are a few that I would like to tell you about.
Auto-fill my return – is a secure CRA service that automatically fills in parts of your return. It makes it easier to do your taxes and helps to prevent mistakes.
Direct deposit – is a fast, reliable, and secure way for individuals to get payments from the CRA on time. It can be particularly important in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances.
Email notifications – help prevent fraud. They let you know when changes are made to your personal information in My Account or when there is mail to view online.
Taxpayer information is confidential. The CRA needs your permission to deal with another person, such as a family member, friend, or an accountant, who may act as your representative for income tax and benefit matters.
You can give permission to another person in My Account, or on paper by filling out Form AUT-01, Authorize a Representative for Offline Access, and sending it to the CRA.
Make sure to choose someone you can trust!
You don’t need to authorize someone as a representative if that person is only doing your taxes.
You may be asking yourself the difficult question of “What will happen to my tax and benefit affairs after I die?”
Or you may wonder what to do if your spouse or common-law partner passes away.
When a person dies, the family or the legal representative settles their tax and benefit affairs.
They should provide the CRA with the deceased’s date of death as soon as possible.
To do this, they can call the number on the screen or send the form titled “Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to update records.”
Service Canada should also be advised of the deceased’s date of death.
Arrangements must be made to stop any payments from the CRA or transfer them to a survivor.
If the CRA is not aware of the death in time to stop payments, they may still be sent out.
If this happens, the legal representative must return payments to the CRA.
The legal representative will also have to
- file all required tax returns for the deceased,
- make sure all amounts owing to the CRA are paid and obtain a clearance certificate to certify this, and
- let the beneficiaries know which of the amounts they receive from the estate are taxable.
More information is available on Information Sheet RC4111.
There are many reasons you may have an uncashed cheque from the CRA.
For example, you may have moved and not updated your address, or the cheque may have been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
You can now view uncashed cheques in My Account and, if necessary, ask for a duplicate payment.
CRA cheques never expire and can be cashed for free at any financial institution in Canada.
To see if you have an uncashed CRA cheque:
Sign in to My Account.
Select “Uncashed Cheques” under “Related Services.”
If you have one, ask for a duplicate payment by selecting and completing the displayed form.
You may only know of the CRA as the taxman, but we are much more than that!
We play a big role in putting money in your pockets because we administer federal benefits and credits, and most provincial and territorial payments. This means that we calculate many of these benefits and credits based on your income.
This is why it’s so important that you do your taxes on time, every year, even if you didn’t have any income for the year.
By doing your taxes on time, the CRA and other government departments will also be able to calculate your payments and send them to you without delays.
This means payments like your GST/HST credit won’t be interrupted and you’ll continue to receive them as a steady source of income.
As another example, the CRA shares your information with Service Canada so they can calculate your old age security benefits.
These benefits include the guaranteed income supplement, also known as the GIS, and the allowance for people aged 60 to 64, and the allowance for the survivor.
To continue to get these payments next July, you must file your taxes before this year’s deadline.
The deadline to do your taxes is generally on April 30.
Next, I want to touch on a service that makes it easier for you to do your taxes. It’s called File my Return.
This service lets some people do their taxes over the phone.
All you have to do is confirm some personal information and answer a few short questions.
The service is free, secure, and easy. There are no forms to fill out or calculations to do!
You will get a letter from the CRA in mid-February if you’re eligible for the service.
To be eligible you have to have a low or a fixed income and your tax situation must stay the same year to year.
The letter will give you all the information you need to use this service. Once you are ready, you can call the File my Return phone number and follow the prompts during the call. It’s as simple as that!
If you live Québec, the service only files the federal income tax and benefit return. You will need to do your provincial tax return separately.
You may be able to get your taxes done by a volunteer, for free! You’re eligible for this service if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Generally, you have a modest income if you have income of less than $35,000 for a single person and less than $45,000 for a couple.
Your tax situation is simple if you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.
Tax preparation clinics are held throughout the year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.
During the pandemic, we have created virtual tax clinics to serve those who, due to the pandemic or other physical barriers, may not have access to an actual tax clinic location.
In the province of Quebec, volunteers do both federal and provincial taxes for eligible individuals.
For more information or to find a volunteer near you, go to the web address on the screen.
In order to continue to help Canadians during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the following benefits are available:
- Canada worker lockdown benefit
- Canada recovery sickness benefit
- Canada recovery caregiving benefit
Each benefit has specific eligibility criteria and payment amounts.
I will describe each of these benefits. You can find more information by visiting the web address on your screen.
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week ($270 after taxes withheld) to individuals who are employed and self-employed, but are unable to work, due to a local lockdown order in place anytime between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.
Individuals can only apply for the worker lockdown benefit if their region is impacted by a lockdown order which was approved through an Order in Council.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
The recovery sickness benefit provides a payment of $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period you apply for.
You can apply for a maximum of 6 weeks between September 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. The 6 weeks do not have to be taken consecutively.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.
This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
The recovery caregiving benefit provides a payment of $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per household for each 1-week period applied for.
Only one eligible individual per household (living as a family at the same address) can apply for the benefit per week.
Each household can apply up to a maximum of 44 periods between September 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. The 44 weeks do not need to be taken consecutively.
You can apply for all of these benefits online through My Account.
If you sign up for direct deposit you should receive your payment within 3 to 5 days. Otherwise, you will receive a cheque by mail within 10 to 12 business days.
The COVID-19 benefit payments you receive must be reported as income when you do your taxes.
Now, I will give you an overview of what to expect if the CRA contacts you, along with some tips to help you be scam smart by understanding and recognizing the different types of scams.
Be careful when you get a telephone call, a text message, an email, or mail from someone claiming to be from the CRA.
This is especially true if it asks for personal information such as the number on your credit card, bank account, or a passport.
These messages may insist that personal information is needed so that you can receive a refund or a benefit payment. They can also threaten legal consequences to scare you into paying a debt to the CRA that does not actually exist.
There are also other communications that may urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where you are asked to verify your identity by entering personal information.
These are scams! And, you should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided.
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to scammers. The CRA can contact you by telephone. They may call:
- If you owe tax or money to a government program. A collections officer may call you to discuss your file and ask you to make a payment. In this case, you may need to provide some information about your household financial situation.
- Or if they have questions about the tax and benefit records or documents you sent. A CRA officer may call you for more information.
When the CRA calls you, they may verify your identity by asking for personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address, and account, or social insurance number.
Remember, the CRA will not demand immediate payments with gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, or bitcoin. The CRA won’t say the police is coming or threaten a prison sentence or deportation.
You may think that you received a text message or email from the CRA. But did you really?
There may be times when the CRA will notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view in the CRA’s secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client.
Or, you may have subscribed to receive an email notification about an upcoming benefit payment.
Note that we will never ask you to provide personal information in return by email.
However, the CRA may email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication that you asked for during a telephone call.
Also, the CRA will not use instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with you about tax-related issues under any circumstance.
If you receive a text or instant message claiming to be from the CRA, beware since it could be a scam!
When in doubt, check if you have mail or any amount owing in My Account. If you don’t, make sure to delete what you received.
Never click on the link before you are sure it comes from the CRA.
You can also contact the CRA. And visit the link on your screen to learn more!
You can report a scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at the web address or the phone number on your screen.
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
That concludes the webinar. We hope we helped you better understand some of the benefits, credits, and services available to you.
Thank you for joining us today.
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