Webinar for Indigenous Peoples: Get your benefits and credits
Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired, on March 30, 2022. For the most recent information on these topics, go to the following website: Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples – Canada.ca.
Hello, and welcome. My name is Nicole. I’m with the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA for short. I’m very happy to be here today. I will be talking to you about the benefit and credit payments that you could be eligible for, and how to apply for them.
I will also explain how filing your taxes each year helps to ensure that you keep getting these benefits. This is money you can use for everyday expenses like housing, childcare and food. I will also touch on the recovery benefits that have been supporting Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the land that I am presenting to you from today, which is the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Given that we are meeting virtually, I also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself.
Before we start, I would also like to go over some of the terminology used in this presentation. We recognize that many First Nations people in Canada prefer not to be referred to as “Indians”.
However, under section 87 of the Indian Act, the term “Indian” has legal meaning. Individuals who are “Indians”, as defined in the Indian Act, are often referred to as Status Indians.
The CRA uses the term “Indian” for the purpose of discussing tax exemptions. Generally, a Status Indian is subject to the same tax rules as other Canadian residents unless their income is eligible for the tax-exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act. This section exempts from taxation the personal property of an “Indian” situated on a reserve.
If a Status Indian’s income is exempt from tax, they do not have to include that income on their income tax and benefit return. However, any other income must be declared.
Now that we’ve been able to explain why this term will be used throughout the presentation, let’s get started.
I will begin this presentation with the various benefit and credit payments you could be eligible for.
I will go on to cover the northern residents deductions and tax-exempt income.
Next, I will explain why it is important to do your taxes on time and provide information on the simplified tax and benefit package that is available for Indigenous Peoples.
I will also go over the various services and tools that the CRA provides and conclude by helping you protect yourself against scams.
Let’s now start with benefits and credits! Did you know that you may be eligible for benefit and credit payments that the CRA administers such as:
- the Canada child benefit,
- the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly know as the GST/HST credit,
- the Canada workers benefit,
- the disability tax credit,
- the child disability benefit,
- And the northern residents deductions
You may also be eligible for related federal, provincial, or territorial payments.
Let’s take a look at the Canada child benefit.
The Canada child benefit or CCB is a tax-free monthly payment made to the primary caregiver of a child under 18. It helps them with the cost of raising that child.
A primary caregiver can be a parent, another family member, or someone else who is responsible for their care and upbringing.
You could get up to $6,833 per child annually.
Applying for the CCB will also register the child for any related federal, provincial or territorial programs.
Payments are based on the number of children in your care, their ages and your marital status.
The CRA calculates benefit payments every July based on information from each parents’ tax return from the year before.
This is why it’s important for both parents to do their taxes on time every year, even if you have no income. If they don’t, their CCB payments could be interrupted.
To be eligible for the CCB, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- You must live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age.
- You must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.
- And, you must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.
You or your spouse or common-law partner must also be one of the following:
- a Canadian citizen
- a permanent resident
- a protected person
- a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
- or, an Indigenous person who meets the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Act.
You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child if you:
- supervise the child’s daily activities and needs,
- make sure the child’s medical needs are met and,
- arrange for child care when necessary.
You are not considered the person who is primarily responsible if the child is legally, physically, or financially maintained by a child welfare agency. If this is the case, the agency may receive the children’s special allowance for their care.
You should apply for the CCB as soon as possible after your child is born, after a child starts to live with you, or as soon as you or your spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility conditions.
You should apply even if you share custody of a child or a child is living with you for a determined temporary period of time.
If you meet all of the eligibility criteria that I just mentioned, you can apply for the CCB in one of a few ways:
- you can use the Automated Benefits Application, when you register your newborn’s birth with your province or territory. With your consent, the information will be shared securely with the CRA. Note that the automated benefits application is offered in all provinces and the Northwest Territories. The territories of Yukon and Nunavut will offer this service soon.
- you can use the Apply for child benefits feature in the CRA’s online portal, My Account,
- you can fill out Form RC66, Canada child benefits application which can be found on our webpage, and send it to the CRA. Or,
- you can also apply for the CCB using the Canada Child Benefit for Indigenous Peoples form. This form is part of a simplified tax and benefit package for Indigenous Peoples. I will speak more about this later.
You should only apply once. Re-applying using a different way may cause a delay in getting your payments.
You don’t have to re-apply every year, but you and your spouse or common-law partner must do your taxes every year.
If you have another child after you’ve applied, you will need to apply for that child and any later children.
If you are eligible but have never applied for the CCB, you can apply now to receive payments from up to 10 years ago.
To do this, you will have to provide supporting documents and do your taxes for those years if you haven’t already done them.
Do you share custody of your child?
The CRA considers that a child is in a shared custody situation when the child lives part of the time with you and part of the time with another individual at a different address on an approximately equal basis.
For example, a child could live:
- four days with one person and three days with the other, or
- one week with one person and the next week with the other, or it could be
- any other regular, alternating cycle.
When the child lives with them, both people must be primarily responsible for their care and upbringing.
Each eligible person will get half of the payment they would have received if the child lived with them full-time.
If your child lives with you and the other parent in the same home, you are not in a shared custody situation.
Let’s move on to the GST/HST credit.
The GST/HST credit, is a tax-free payment. It helps individuals and families with a low or modest income offset some of the tax they pay through GST or HST.
You don’t have to apply. When you do your taxes, the CRA will determine if you are eligible.
If you’re eligible, you could get up to $456 per year if you’re single, and up to $598 if you’re married or have a common law partner.
If you have children under the age of 19, you could receive up to an additional $157 per child.
For example, if you’re single with one child, you could receive up to $755 per year and a couple with 2 children could get up to $912 per year.
You could also be eligible for related provincial or territorial credits. The payment is issued 4 times a year, around the 5th of July, October, January and April.
Only one person in a marriage or common-law relationship can receive the credit. The amount will be the same no matter who gets it.
You may be eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada and at least one of the following applies:
- You are 19 years of age or older before the month in which the CRA issues a payment;
- You have, or previously had, a spouse or common-law partner; or
- You are, or previously were, a parent and live, or lived with your child.
Next, we will talk about the Canada workers benefit or the CWB for short.
The CWB is a refundable tax credit that provides a financial boost to individuals and families who are in the workforce and earning a low-income.
The CWB has 2 parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement for those with an approved disability tax credit certificate.
For single individuals, the maximum basic amount is $1,395 a year.
The amount is gradually reduced if your adjusted net income is more than $22,944.
For families, the maximum basic amount is $2,403 a year.
The amount is gradually reduced if your adjusted family net income is more than $26,177.
The maximum CWB payment will be different for residents of Alberta, Nunavut and Quebec.
Let’s look into the eligibility for the Canada workers benefit.
In addition to having earned working income, you must be:
- a resident of Canada for income tax purposes throughout the year, and
- 19 years of age or older on December 31. However, you may be eligible if you are under 19 and resided with your spouse or common-law partner, or your child on December 31.
You cannot claim the CWB:
- If you were enrolled as a full-time student at a designated educational institution for a total of more than 13 weeks in the year, unless you had an eligible dependant at the end of the year;
- If you were confined to a prison or similar institution for a period of at least 90 days during the year;
- Or, if you don’t have to pay tax in Canada because you are an officer or servant of another country, such as a diplomat, or you are a family member or employee of that person.
You apply for the CWB when you do your taxes.
If you use tax software, it will automatically calculate the CWB for you.
If you file on paper, you need to fill out Schedule 6, found in the tax package for your province or territory.
If you have tax-exempt income, you may choose whether to include those amounts when you calculate the CWB.
You may be able to apply for CWB advance payments.
If you are able to estimate your working income for the upcoming year, you could receive up to half of your benefit as an advance payment.
The advance will be paid in up to four separate payments throughout the year in April, July, October, and January.
You must report these payments on your income tax return.
The fastest way to apply for advance payments is online through the CRA’s My Account.
Applications for CWB advance payments are only accepted between January 1st and August 31st.
The disability tax credit, DTC for short, is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members reduce the income tax they may have to pay.
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.
For more information on the disability tax credit, go to the first web address on your screen.
We also have webinars in our video gallery on how to apply for the DTC and for benefits and credits related to the DTC, such as the child disability benefit and the Canada workers benefit disability supplement. You can view these webinars at the second web address on your screen.
The child disability benefit is for families who care for a child under 18 and is eligible for the disability tax credit. It is a tax-free payment of up to $2,915 annually.
If you are already getting the Canada child benefit for a child in your care who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you do not need to apply for the child disability benefit. You will get it automatically.
The child disability benefit is paid monthly to the person who receives the Canada child benefit for that child.
For more information on the child disability benefit, go to the web address on your screen.
To find out what benefits you may be eligible for, you can use the Benefits Finder online.
Go to the first web address on your screen and answer a few questions.
The Benefits Finder will customize a list of benefits for which you may be eligible.
If you want to get an estimate of the payment amounts you could get, go to the second web address on your screen.
This tool calculates any federal and provincial or territorial payments you may be eligible for.
To continue helping Canadians during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the following benefits are available:
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and,
- 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, or CWLB, 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 CWLB if their region is impacted by a lockdown order which are approved through an Order in Council.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, or CRSB, 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, or 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'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 3-5 days. Otherwise, you will receive a cheque by mail within 10-12 business days.
The COVID-19 benefit payments you receive must be reported as income when you do your taxes.
In addition to the benefits and credits we have covered today, you may also be eligible to claim the northern residents deductions.
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.
These deductions can help reduce any tax that you may be owing when you file your tax return.
To qualify, you must have lived on a permanent basis in a prescribed northern or intermediate zone at least six months in a row beginning or ending in the tax year.
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.
To claim the northern residents deductions, fill out and send Form T2222, Northern Residents Deductions, to the CRA, along with your tax return.
If you are filing your tax return electronically, follow the prompts. If you are eligible, the software will claim these for you.
If you need help with claiming these deductions or have any other income tax and benefits-related questions, please call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
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.
Now that we have talked about the benefits, credits, and deductions to which you may be entitled, let’s look at tax-exempt income.
Some or all of your employment income may be considered tax-exempt according to section 87 of the Indian Act. There are some factors that are considered in determining if your employment income is exempt or not, including:
- where you live
- where your employer is located, and,
- where your work is done
Let’s look at an example.
If you are a Status Indian, your personal property, including your income, is tax-exempt if it is earned or situated on a reserve.
Your income may also be tax-exempt if you are a Status Indian who does not live on a reserve, but who works on a reserve.
Whether your income is tax-exempt or not, doing your taxes is key to getting benefits and credits and continuing to get your payments.
This is true even if you had no income during the year. If you are married or common-law, your partner also has to file their taxes every year.
For more information on tax-exempt income, go to Canada.ca/taxes-guidelines-indigenous.
The key to receiving your benefits and credits is doing your taxes…. On time! We know it’s not a fun process and can be a bit scary for some. But it’s so important!
Filing your taxes is the only way to get the many benefits and credits that are calculated based on your income.
This includes the benefits and credits I mentioned, including the Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, and the Canada workers benefit.
So even if you didn’t earn any income in the year, or your income was tax-exempt, you should still file your taxes each year. This provides the CRA with the information needed to ensure you get, and continue to get, the benefits and credits you are entitled to.
The deadline to do your taxes is April 30 every year.
Filing by then allows us to calculate your payments and send them to you on time.
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 1-800-622-6232.
There are a few ways to do your taxes:
Doing your taxes online is the fastest and easiest way. You can use tax software or a web application. These are available at the first web address shown on the screen. Tax software guides you through the process and calculates everything for you. It helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits. Some products are even free!
Volunteers may be able to help you do your taxes for free. There are tax clinics hosted by community organizations across Canada for those with a modest income and simple tax situation. For more information, go to the second web address on your screen.
You can also get help from a family member, a friend, or a tax preparer.
Or, you can download a tax package, fill out the paper forms and mail them to the CRA. You must use the package for the province you lived in on December 31. To get a package, go to the last web address or call the number on your screen.
To help serve Canadians better, the CRA has created a simplified tax and benefit package for Indigenous Peoples. The goal of the package is to make it easier to do your taxes and provide more convenient access to services.
The simplified tax and benefit package is available to all Indigenous individuals this filing season.
It includes two forms, an information sheet and a return envelope.
The first form is called the Let us Help you Get your Benefits Credit and Benefit Short Return. This form 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 Indigenous Peoples form. This form helps eligible individuals receive the Canada child benefit for the children in their home.
Please note that the image shown is that of the Ontario form and forms vary by province/territory.
To use the simplified return, you must meet these requirements:
- be a resident of Canada for all of 2021
- be a resident of your province or territory on December 31, 2021
- have a taxable income of $13,808 or less for 2021 (or $21,521 or less if you were born in 1956 or earlier) (these amounts could vary depending on province)
- and are not claiming the eligible educator school supply tax credit for 2021
Simplified paper forms will be available this Spring to eligible Indigenous peoples to help make the tax-filing process easier this tax season. Ask your local friendship centre, band council office or CRA Outreach Officer to get the forms.
You may be able to get your taxes done by a volunteer, for free!
The program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. In Quebec, it’s known as the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.
You’ re eligible to have your taxes done through the program if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Generally, a modest income is 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 clinics are held all year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.
During the pandemic, we have created virtual tax clinics to serve those who may not have access to an in-person location.
For more information or to find a clinic near you, go to the web address on the screen.
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program I just mentioned is always looking for volunteers! You can volunteer at a virtual tax clinic and help people do their taxes by videoconference, by phone, or through document drop-off.
As a volunteer, you’ll be helping people in your community get benefits and credits like the ones we talked about today.
Register to volunteer online at the address on your screen.
The CRA will sometimes send you a questionnaire or letter if we need more information and to make sure you’re getting the right benefits and credits.
If you get one of these letters, don’t ignore it. You need to respond as soon as possible. Often, we will ask for documents, to confirm that the CRA has the most up-to-date information for you, like proof of a change in your marital status, a child’s primary caregiver, or your address.
If you don’t have the documents, need some extra time to gather them, or don’t understand what we’re asking, just let the CRA know.
The CRA needs this information to calculate your benefits and credits.
If you don’t respond, your benefit or credit payments will stop and you may have to repay the payments you already received.
We know that some situations can affect your access to benefits and credits, but we’re here to help!
You will never need to contact an abusive spouse or common-law partner to provide information to the CRA.
If you are in a situation of abuse or violence and cannot get the requested documents, you can send any of the following:
- a copy of a police report,
- a copy of a restraining order or an order of protection, or,
- a letter from a trusted third party explaining your situation. For example:
- a member of the clergy,
- a band council,
- a shelter
- or a resettlement office.
After the CRA receives the documents, no further action is required on your part.
Along with doing your taxes every year, you must keep your personal information up to date to keep getting benefits and credits.
This includes your address, marital status, number of children in your care and direct deposit information.
You can update this information using My Account, the MyBenefits mobile application, by mail, or an agent can assist by phone.
If you don’t have a permanent home and are staying in a shelter, you can use the shelter’s address to keep getting your payments and mail from the CRA.
If you move, let us know your new address right away. Otherwise your payments may stop.
As mentioned, you can update your personal information and apply for benefits through the CRA’s online service, My Account.
My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your tax and benefit information and manage your taxes online. You can do things, like:
- track your refund,
- view or change your return,
- 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, and more.
For more information or to sign up, go to the web address on your screen.
There are many reasons you may have an uncashed cheque from the CRA. It may have been lost, stolen, or destroyed, or you may have moved and not updated your address.
You can view any uncashed cheques in My Account and, if necessary, ask for a duplicate payment.
CRA cheques never expire or become stale-dated and you can cash them for free at any financial institution in Canada.
Never miss another payment by signing up for direct deposit. For more information, go to the web address on your screen.
You might need to provide proof of income to a bank or a landlord.
You can get your proof of income statement online using My Account or by mail by calling the Tax Information Phone Service, at the number on your screen. The information will be mailed to the address CRA has on file.
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.
The CRA created the Northern Service Centres to provide year-round support to individuals and businesses in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
Employees at the Northern Service Centres conduct outreach visits to provide support to individuals, businesses, and the community.
At the centres, employees can also:
- direct clients to free tax clinics and the Liaison Officer program
- answer questions and distribute information on benefits and credits
- assist clients with CRA communications. For example, they can help them interpret letters from the CRA.
- and help clients access the CRA’s digital services. For example, they help clients:
- get an access code for My Account
- register for My Account
- and submit documents online
CRA employees at the Northern Service Centres cannot:
- complete income tax and benefit returns and forms
- accept payments
- receive and send mail, returns, documentation, or forms
- provide bulk printout requests (for example, notices of assessment) to tax practitioners or specialists
- or provide Problem Resolution Program services, such as requesting to expedite a case
At this time, there is no walk-in counter service offered in the Northern Service Centres or any CRA office. However, services are still available by phone or videoconference for those who reside in the territories and have an 867 area code. They can call our dedicated enquiries lines.
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 are 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 secure CRA 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.
Do taxes confuse you? Do you want to learn more about taxes and how to do a tax return? We can help. Check out our free online interactive tool, Learn about your taxes.
Through simple and interactive web content, you will learn what you need when starting your first job, figuring out your paycheque, what you need to know before doing your taxes and how to do a basic tax return.
It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, and links to websites where you can learn more.
More topics will be added including what you should know after doing your taxes and more on benefits and credits.
Be sure to check it out at the address on your screen!
Residents of the Territories (with the 867 area code) can call the dedicated individual and benefit enquiries or the business enquiries telephone line for access to agents who can assist with tax and benefit related questions.
- For Individual and Benefit enquiries, call: 1-866-426-1527
- For Business enquiries, call: 1-866-841-1876
If you are calling from outside the 867 area code, you can still reach us at the following:
- For Benefit and credit-related questions call: 1-800-387-1193
- And for General tax questions, call: 1-800-959-8281
And that’s all for me! This is the end of our webinar. Thank you so much for joining us today! We hope it was helpful!
Thank you for listening and enjoy your day!
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