Webinar for Indigenous Peoples: Get your benefits and credits
Slide 1 (Title Slide)
Allison: Hello, and welcome to the Canada Revenue Agency’s webinar on benefits and credits.
My name is Allison and I’m your host. Today I’ll be talking about benefits and credits that you could be receiving and services that can help you with your taxes.
Now let’s get started. Note that for the rest of the presentation, I’ll be calling the Canada Revenue Agency “the CRA.”
Slide 2 (You could get)
Allison: The benefits and credits I’ll be talking about today are: the Canada child benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, the Canada workers benefit, the disability tax credit and the child disability benefit. I’ll also quickly go over the deductions that are available for Canada’s northern residents. At the end of the presentation, I’ll discuss the changes to the Employment Insurance program and new recovery benefits that have been supporting Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provinces and territories also have several benefits and credits that you may be able to get just by applying for the programs shown on your screen. Although I won’t be talking about provincial and territorial benefits and credits today, you can learn more about them by visiting Canada.ca and searching for “Provincial and territorial programs.”
But before you can get any of these, you have to do your taxes.
Slide 3 (Do your taxes on time)
Allison: Doing your taxes is the key to getting benefits and credits, and continuing to get your payments. This is true even if your income is tax-exempt – meaning you don’t have to pay taxes on it – or if you had no income during the year. To ensure your payments won’t be delayed or stopped, make sure you fill out your 2020 tax return and send it before the deadline of April 30, 2021.
To do your taxes, you need to have a social insurance number, also known as a SIN. If you don’t have a SIN, call Service Canada at the number shown at the bottom of your screen.
Slide 4 (Ways to do your taxes)
Allison: The fastest and easiest way to do your taxes is online. You can use free tax software or a web application, available at the first web address shown on your screen.
The tax software:
guides you through the process of doing your taxes.
calculates everything for you.
and helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits you may be eligible for.
You can also do your taxes on paper if you prefer. You will have to print the tax package for the province you live in at the second web address shown on your screen, or you can call the CRA to get one mailed to you.
If doing your taxes is a little too intimidating, you can find out if you’re eligible for help at a free tax clinic. I’ll tell you all about this service later in the webinar.
Slide 5 (Simplified Tax and Benefit Package)
Allison: To help serve Canadians better, the CRA is running a pilot project in First Nation communities and has created a new simplified tax and benefit package that aims to make information more helpful and easier to understand and provide more convenient access to services.
The simplified tax and benefit package will be available for First Nation individuals for this filing season. It includes two forms, an information sheet and a return envelope.
The first is called the Let us Help you Get your Benefits Credit and Benefit Short Return, which is a simplified version of the individual income tax and benefit return. It gives the CRA the information needed to calculate your benefits and credits, such as the GST/HST credit and the Canada workers benefit.
The second form is the Canada Child Benefit for First Nations form, which will help eligible individuals receive the Canada child benefit for the children in their home.
To use the simplified return, you must meet these requirements:
- be a First Nation person who meets the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Act
- be a resident of Canada for all of 2020
- be a resident of your province or territory on December 31, 2020
- have a taxable income of $13,229 or less for 2020 (or $20,866 or less if you were 65 years of age or older)
- are not claiming the eligible educator school supply tax credit for 2020
CRA Outreach Officers will be contacting communities to discuss the simplified tax and benefit package. If a community expresses interest in getting the simplified packages, the CRA will send the community packages by mail.
Slide 6 (Canada child benefit)
Allison: Now, let’s discuss the benefits and credits you could get.
The Canada child benefit, or CCB for short, is a tax-free monthly payment that helps with the cost of raising children. Depending on the age of your child and your family net income, you can get up to $6,765 per child under the age of 6, and up to $5,708 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 live with a child and you are responsible for that child’s daily activities and needs, you may be eligible for the CCB.
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.
The CCB payment will increase in July 2021 to keep up with the increased cost of living.
To get the CCB, you have to be a resident of Canada. 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 who continues to hold a valid permit.
Applying for the CCB will also register your child for most related provincial or territorial child benefit and credit payments. If you live in Quebec, additional assistance to help with the cost of raising a family is available. However, you will need to apply separately through Retraite Québec to get these provincial child assistance payments.
Slide 7 (How do you get the CCB?)
Allison: You should apply for the CCB as soon as possible after your child is born, a child starts to live with you, or when you, your spouse or common-law partner become eligible to receive the CCB.
The CRA uses the information from your tax return to calculate your benefit payments. This is why you need to do your taxes every year to keep getting payments.
Remember, if you’re married or have a common-law partner, both of you have to do your taxes every year to get the payments.
There are three ways to apply for the CCB.
One way to apply is at the time of your child’s birth. When you are filling out your child’s provincial or Northwest Territories birth registration form, you can give permission to share your child’s information with the CRA. By giving your permission, you will automatically apply for the CCB. Unfortunately, this service is not yet available in the Yukon and Nunavut.
If the child you’re applying for is over one year old, you’ll need to apply either online using the CRA’s secure portal, called My Account, or on paper with Form RC66.
To use My Account, log in and then click on “Apply for child benefits” in the “Benefits and credits” box. You’ll need to fill in your information and the child’s information to apply. You can even use the My Account portal to check the status of your application.
To apply on paper, fill out Form RC66, titled Canada Child Benefits Application, and mail it to the CRA. You can get this form on Canada.ca or by calling the CRA at the number shown at the bottom of your screen.
Slide 8 (GST/HST credit)
Allison: I’ll now move on to the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly known as the GST/HST credit.
This is a tax-free payment for people with a modest income that helps them with the GST or HST that they pay.
To get it, all you have to do is do your taxes each year. Depending on your family net income, you could get up to $592 if you are married or common-law, $451 if you are single and $155 for each child under the age of 19 that is living with you.
Usually, the GST/HST credit is for people 19 and older, but if you’re under 19 and you live with your child, or have a spouse or common-law partner, you could be eligible too.
Don’t forget: if you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to do their taxes so that the CRA can calculate your household payments.
By doing your taxes, you may also get related provincial or territorial payments depending on your province or territory of residence.
Slide 9 (Questions)
Allison: Lets take a short break now to address some of the questions we received.
Question 1: I just found out about the Canada child benefit and I have two kids who are 4 and 11. Can I get the payments I missed?
The answer: You can apply for the Canada child benefit and get payments for up to 10 previous years that you missed.
In these situations, your application will need to include supporting documents for the period that exceeds 11 months from your application received date. A complete list of the required documents is included on form RC66.
A CCB notice of determination will inform you of the tax returns you and your spouse or common law partner must complete so the CRA can calculate your missing Canada child benefit payments.
If applicable, you and your partner must complete all your previous tax returns for the period you are requesting in order to calculate your missing Canada child benefit payments.
Question 2: I recently separated from my wife and we are both looking after our children. Can I get part of the child benefit payment?
Answer: You can receive half of the Canada child benefit if you and your former spouse share custody of your children. You will have to apply using Form RC66 or through My Account to receive your CCB as shared custody.
For CRA purposes, you share custody if the children live with you and your former spouse in separate residences on a more or less equal basis (at least 40% of the time). You both must be primarily responsible for the children’s care and upbringing when the children are living with each of you.
Question 3: I live with my daughter, who is 17, and my granddaughter who was recently born. Who gets the money for my granddaughter?
Answer: The individual who is primarily in charge of the care and upbringing of the child should apply and receive the Canada child benefit.
Primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child means that you are responsible for such things as supervising the child’s daily activities and needs, making sure the child’s medical needs are met, and arranging for child care when necessary.
Question 4: For a year I was getting a GST/HST cheque but all of a sudden I stopped getting it. Why?
Answer: There could be many reasons. First, you need to have done your taxes for the year before.
It could also be that your income has increased and you are no longer entitled to GST/HST credit payments.
If your income did not change and you did your taxes for the year before, then it is possible that the CRA doesn’t have your correct mailing address or direct deposit information, or is missing information from you.
If you think you should be getting GST/HST credit payments but are not, you should call the CRA at 1-800-387-1193.
Now let’s move on to our next topic: the Canada workers benefit.
Slide 10 (Canada workers benefit)
Allison: If you’re 19 or older, working and making a modest income, you could be eligible for the Canada workers benefit, or CWB for short.
The CWB is a credit you claim on your tax return, which the CRA calculates based on your income. You can apply for it even if your income is tax exempt. It could be worth up to $1,355 for single individuals and up to $2,335 for families per year, depending on the province or territory you live in.
Like the GST/HST credit, you can also get the CWB if you’re under 19 and you have a spouse or common-law partner, or live with a child. You have to meet the other conditions that make you eligible.
If you’re eligible to get the CWB, you might also be eligible for advance payments. That means you could get up to half of your expected credit in advance. Usually, regular payments are made every April, July, October and January. To get advance payments, you’ll need to fill out Form RC201, titled Canada Workers Benefit Advance Payments Application, or apply through My Account.
Slide 11 (Disability Tax Credit)
Allison: The disability tax credit, or DTC for short, is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
You could get up to $8,576 as a non-refundable tax credit, and you might be able to claim up to 10 previous years of disability amounts.
To be eligible, you must be blind, markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living, significantly restricted in two or more of the basic activities of daily living, or need life-sustaining therapy. Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months and it must be present all or at least 90% of the time.
Being eligible for the DTC could open the door to other federal, provincial or territorial programs, like the Canada workers benefit disability supplement, the registered disability savings plan and the child disability benefit.
To learn more about these credits, go to the web address shown at the bottom of your screen.
Slide 12 (Three Steps to Apply For the DTC)
Allison: To apply for the DTC, you need to use Form T2201. There are three steps to applying:
First, fill out Part A of the form with the required personal information.
Second, visit a medical practitioner (for example, your doctor or nurse practitioner). Have them fill out Part B of the form.
The medical practitioner will need to describe how the impairment impacts your ability to do the basic activities of daily living.
Third, send the completed form to the CRA address for your region provided on the form. The CRA will then review your application.
If we need more information, we may contact you or the medical practitioner.
When we’ve completed our review, we’ll let you know the result. If you (or your dependant) are eligible, you can claim the disability amount or transfer it to your spouse or an eligible dependant on your tax return.
To learn more about the DTC, who qualifies as a medical practitioner, and whether you or your dependants are eligible, go to the web address shown at the bottom of your screen.
Slide 13 (Child Disability Benefit)
Allison: The child disability benefit is paid to families that care for children under the age of 18 who are eligible for the DTC.
If you receive the Canada child benefit for a child who is also eligible for the DTC, you don’t need to apply for the child disability benefit – you will receive it automatically.
You could get up to $2,886 per year in addition to your Canada child benefit payments.
Slide 14 (Northern Residents Deductions)
Allison: To help with the costs of living and travelling in the North, residents of either the prescribed northern zone or the prescribed intermediate zone may be able to claim tax deductions known as the northern residents deductions.
To claim them, fill out and send Form T2222, Northern Residents Deductions, to the CRA, along with your tax return.
To qualify, you must have lived at least six months in a row in either a northern zone or an intermediate zone.
To find out if you live in one of these zones, or for more information about the northern residents deductions, go to the web address shown on your screen.
You’ll learn about the rules for qualifying and claiming the deductions, and see examples that help to explain who can claim them.
There is also a detailed list of all cities and places that are considered part of these zones.
If you need help applying for these deductions or any other benefits or credits that I’ve discussed today, please call the CRA.
We also have a dedicated phone line available only to residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut with the 867 area code. That number is 1-866-426-1527.
Slide 15 (Questions)
Allison: I’d like to take another break from the presentation to see if we received a few more questions.
Yes, we have a few:
Question 1: I live in a community without a doctor to fill out the Disability Tax Credit form. Who else can fill out the form?
Answer: You may ask a nurse practitioner, optometrist, audiologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, or speech-language pathologist to fill out Part B of the form.
While only a medical doctor or nurse practitioner can fill out all the sections in Part B, other medical practitioners can fill out the section that applies to their work. An optometrist, for example, can only fill out the section about your vision.
Question 2: I don’t have a taxable income. Do I still have to do my taxes?
Answer: To get your benefit and credit payments you will have to do your taxes every year, even if you did not have income in the year or if your income is tax exempt.
If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they will also have to do their taxes every year.
The reason you need to do your taxes every year is simple, the CRA uses your family net income to calculate your benefit payments.
Question 3: I applied for the CERB, but got my job back before my payments ended. Do I have to send some of the money back?
Answer: You must repay the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for any 4-week period you received it.
This could happen if you earned more employment or self-employment income than expected in the period you applied for.
The CERB is taxable and you will need to report any payments you received on next year’s income tax return.
This means you may need to pay taxes on the CERB you received since no tax was deducted when you received the CERB.
If you repay the CERB, you won’t be issued a tax slip for that payment. For more information on how to return or repay a payment, go to canada.ca/repay-cerb or call 1-833-966-2099.
That’s it for now. We will discuss more of the special COVID-19 measures later in the webinar.
I’ll continue with the next part of our webinar, which focuses on how to make sure you keep receiving your benefit payments.
Slide 16 (Keep Receiving Your Benefit Payments)
Allison: Once you start getting your payments, there are three things you’ll need to do to keep getting them:
First, make sure you do your taxes every year. Without them, the CRA won’t be able to calculate your benefit and credit payments.
If you have a common-law partner or spouse, they also have to do their taxes.
Second, make sure the CRA has a record of your most up-to-date personal information, such as your address, direct deposit information, marital status and the number of children in your care.
Third, respond as early as possible to any letters you might get from the CRA. If you need some extra time, contact the CRA.
Slide 17 (Community Volunteer Income Tax Program)
Allison: As mentioned, you need to do your taxes every year.
We understand that taxes can be scary for some and that not everyone feels comfortable doing their taxes alone. And we know that paying for someone to do your taxes can be expensive.
If you want help with your taxes, you might be able to get them done for free.
If you have a modest income and simple tax situation, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program has volunteers who can do your taxes at a free tax clinic.
In Quebec, the CRA collaborates with Revenu Quebec to provide a similar program called the Volunteer Program.
Usually, your tax situation is simple if you have an income of less than $35,000 and you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.
To find a tax filing clinic and more information about the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, go to the web address shown at the left of your screen.
Please note that this year, many clinics will be offered virtually – online or by phone – in order to follow health guidance with respect to the pandemic.
You may also consider helping others with their taxes. The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is always looking for new volunteers.
If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer or want more information, go to the web address shown at the right of your screen.
Slide 18 (Update Your Personal Information with the CRA)
Allison: If there has been a major change in your life, you should update your information with the CRA as soon as possible.
It is important to let the CRA know if there are changes to your mailing address, direct deposit information, marital status, the number of children in your care, or if you experience a death in your family.
Along with doing your taxes every year, keeping your information up-to-date will allow you to keep receiving the correct amount of benefit and credit payments.
You also need to tell us your new address if you move. You can change your address by phone or by mail using Form RC325, titled Address change request.
If you use direct deposit, it is also important to keep your banking information up-to-date.
You can sign up for direct deposit or update your banking information by phone, online with My Account, or by mail using the Direct deposit enrolment form.
You can change your marital status by phone, by mail using Form RC65, titled Marital status change, or online with My Account.
For example, if you separated from your spouse last year, and your benefit payments are being deposited into a joint account, you may want to contact the CRA to update your banking information so that your payments are deposited into the right account.
To sign up and start using My Account, go to the web address shown at the bottom of your screen.
Slide 19 (Benefit Review Letters from the CRA)
Allison: The CRA will sometimes send you a questionnaire or letter if we need more information to make sure you’re getting the right benefits and credits.
Getting one of these benefit review letters is not unusual, but don’t ignore it. You need to respond as soon as possible.
Why respond? Let’s take a closer look.
Letters are sent as part of the benefit and credit review process.
Often the letter and questionnaire from the CRA will ask for information that is missing from your file.
It may ask for proof of a change in your marital status or a child’s primary caregiver, or of a change to your address.
The CRA needs this information to calculate your benefits and credits.
If you don’t respond, your benefit or credit payments could stop and you may have to repay the payments you already received.
You may be asked to provide supporting documents to determine if you’re eligible for the benefits or credits you’re claiming.
If you don’t have the documents or need some extra time to gather them, just let the CRA know.
And always contact us if you don’t understand the letter or what we’re asking for.
If you have any difficulty finding supporting documents such as a birth certificate, you can send us in its place supporting letters from third parties, like your employer, a band council member, school authority or doctor.
A full list of acceptable supporting documents can be found at Canada.ca by searching for “Validating your eligibility for benefits and credits.”
If you are having difficulties getting documents, please contact the CRA.
Slide 20 (Need more information?)
Allison: If you have any questions about benefits and credits or taxes, we want to make it easy for you to find the answers.
You can find more information about benefits, credits and doing your taxes by going to one of the web addresses shown on your screen.
Or, if you prefer, you can call us at one of the phone numbers that are listed.
If your question is about your personal tax information, be sure to have your social insurance number ready, along with your month and year of birth, postal code, and information from your last tax return.
If you reside in the Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut (and have an 867 area code), you may also call 1-866-426-1527.
Slide 21 (COVID-19 Measures)
Allison: We will now discuss special increases to the Canada child benefit and the GST/HST credit. Then I will talk about the changes to the Employment Insurance program and new recovery benefits that will support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slide 22 (COVID-19 One-time Payments)
Allison: Individuals who received the CCB in April 2020, received $300 more per child in their May 2020 instalment. This was a one-time increase to the May 2020 CCB payment for the 2019-2020 benefit year.
You got the payment increase if:
- you had an eligible child in your care in May 2020
- you and your spouse/common-law partner (if applicable) have filed your 2018 tax return(s)
If you didn't file your 2018 taxes, you won't receive this payment. If you're late in filing your 2018 taxes, you should file as soon as possible. You may be eligible for retroactive benefits and credits. The only way to get these benefits is by filing your return.
You didn’t have to file your 2019 taxes to receive the CCB payment increase, but you should file them so you continue to get your benefits and credits for the 2020-2021 benefit year.
And stay tuned, the government has proposed additional temporary support for families with children under the age of 6 entitled to the CCB. More details should be available in the coming weeks if the proposal is approved by Parliament.
Another measure introduced to help Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic was a special one-time GST/HST credit payment, which was issued on April 9, 2020. This amount was calculated based on your 2018 tax return and was a one-time additional payment.
If you have not filed your 2018 tax return, we encourage you to file as soon as possible. You won't receive this payment if you didn't file taxes for 2018.
If you were previously not entitled to the GST/HST credit, but have filed your 2018 tax return, you may also get the one-time credit amount based on your family net income.
The maximum amounts you can receive for the 2019-2020 benefit year, depending on your family net income and your status, could increase from:
- $443 to $886 if you’re single
- $580 to $1,160 if you’re married or living common-law
- $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 (excluding the first eligible child of a single parent)
- $290 to $580 for the first eligible child of a single parent
The current shared custody rules apply, meaning shared custody parents get half of the amount they would receive for a shared custody child.
Again, if you’re late filing your 2018 tax return, we encourage you to file as soon as possible. You may be eligible for retroactive benefits and credits. But remember, the only way to get them is to file.
Slide 23 (New COVID-19 Measures, Fall 2020)
Allison: In order to continue helping Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has created three new benefits:
- the Canada Recovery Benefit,
- the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and
- the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
I will describe who is eligible for these benefits on the next few slides and you can find more information by visiting canada.ca/cra-coronavirus.
You can apply for these benefits online through My Account or by using an automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
If you sign up for direct deposit, you should receive your payment within 3-5 days. Otherwise, you will receive a cheque by mail within 10-12 business days.
Slide 24 (Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB))
Allison: The Canada Recovery Benefit, known as the CRB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance benefits.
The CRB is administered by the CRA.
If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 (before taxes are withheld) for a 2-week period.
Tax will be withheld at source on all Canada Recovery Benefits payments, including those made to individuals with income that may be exempt from tax.
If some or all of your income is exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act and you are registered, or entitled to be registered as an Indian under that Act, you may be able to get part or all of the tax back for payments received in 2020 or 2021 by using the Simplified Forms package or by filing a tax return for that year. This may include filling out Form T90, Income exempt under the Indian Act, as part of the return.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 25 (Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB))
Allison: The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, also called the CRSB, gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are 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 CRSB is administered by the CRA.
If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 (before taxes are withheld) for a 1-week period.
As mentioned earlier, tax will be withheld at source on all Canada Recovery Benefits payments, including those made to individuals with income that may be exempt from tax.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 26 (Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB))
Allison: The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, known as the CRCB, 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 are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
The CRCB is administered by the CRA.
If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 (before taxes are withheld) for each 1-week period.
As mentioned earlier, tax will be withheld at source on all Canada Recovery Benefits payments, including those made to individuals with income that may be exempt from tax.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 27 (Questions?)
Allison: So, if your income is affected by the pandemic, please go online to canada.ca/cra-coronavirus to check out these three benefits.
That concludes the webinar on benefits and credits. Thank you so much for joining me today.
And I hope you have a great day!
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