Webinar - Individuals with a modest income
Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired on January 25, 2023. For the most recent information on these topics, go to Tax-related benefits, credits, deductions and support - Canada.ca.
Get your benefits and credits!
Laverne: Hello, and welcome.
My name is Laverne. 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.
[An individual using a laptop with a child in their lap.]
Laverne: Given that we are meeting virtually, I wish to acknowledge that the lands on which I am presenting from are part of the Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory of the Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine and Metis people.
I also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered from coast to coast and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself.
Laverne: Today, I will tell you how important it is to do your taxes. It will help ensure that you keep getting the benefits and credit payments that you may be eligible for. This is money you can use for everyday expenses like housing, childcare, and food.
Today, we will cover:
- benefits and credits you may be eligible for
- the different ways to do your taxes, and
- the importance of keeping your personal information updated
I will conclude today’s presentation by going over the CRA’s digital services, like My Account, and giving you tools to protect yourself from scams.
[The hands of an individual filling out a paper tax return beside a laptop.]
Get the benefits and credits you may be eligible for!
Laverne: Let’s 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 one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit
- and the Canada dental benefit
You may also be eligible for related federal, provincial or territorial payments.
[Two smiling individuals seated on a sofa. One looks at the other while showing them a notepad.]
Canada child benefit
Laverne: Let’s begin with the Canada child benefit, or CCB for short.
The Canada child benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. Each year, it may provide up to $6,997 for each of your children under 6 years of age and up to $5,903 for each child aged 6 to 17.
You need to apply for all children in your household if you have not applied previously and nobody is receiving it for them.
For more information on the Canada child benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-child-benefit.
[An individual using a laptop with two children doing homework in the background.]
Are you eligible for the Canada child benefit?
Laverne: 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 individual who is registered, or entitled to be registered, 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.
A primary caregiver can be the child’s mother, father, grandparent, or other family member.
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.
When should you apply for the Canada child benefit?
Laverne: 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.
[An individual smiling at a child they are holding. The child smiles for the camera.]
Three ways to apply for the Canada child benefit
Laverne: If you meet all of the eligibility criteria that I just mentioned, you can apply for the CCB in one of three 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 on your birth registration form will be shared securely with the CRA.
- you can use the Apply for child benefits feature in the CRA’s online portal, My Account, or
- you can fill out Form RC66, Canada child benefit application which can be found on our webpage, and send it to the CRA.
Note that the automated benefits application is offered in all provinces and the Northwest Territories.
You should only apply once. Re-applying using a different method 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 if applicable, 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 subsequent children.
Also, if you were eligible for the CCB for prior years and had not applied previously, you can request a retroactive payment for a period of up to 10 years.
Do you share custody of your child?
Laverne: 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 at least 40% of the time or on an approximately equal basis.
When the child lives with them, both people must be primarily responsible for the child’s 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.
[An individual smiles as they place a tray of food in an oven. A child next to them is smiling at them.]
Laverne: Next, we’ll move on to the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit.
The goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly known as the GST/HST credit, is a quarterly tax-free payment for people with low and modest incomes. It helps offset the GST or HST they pay on goods and services.
To get it, all you have to do is your taxes every year, even if you have no income to report. The CRA will confirm if you are eligible, and how much you will get when you do your taxes.
Also, to support those most affected by inflation, the government recently doubled the GST credit for six months. You don't need to apply. This additional one-time payment started to be sent on November 4, 2022 to those who qualified for the GST/HST credit in October 2022.
For more information on the GST/HST credit, visit canada.ca/gst-hst-credit.
[An individual smiling for the camera while working at a café.]
Eligibility for the GST/HST credit
Laverne: 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.
Canada workers benefit
Laverne: The Canada workers benefit, or CWB for short, 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 $1,428 a year. No basic amount is paid if your adjusted family net income is more than $33,015.
For families, the maximum basic amount is $2,461 a year. No basic amount is paid if your adjusted family net income is more than $43,212.
The maximum CWB payment will be different for residents of Alberta, Nunavut and Quebec.
For more information on the Canada workers benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.
[Two individuals working at a café.]
Eligibility for the Canada workers benefit
Laverne: 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 Canada workers benefit:
- 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.
How to claim
Laverne: You claim the Canada workers benefit when you do your taxes.
If you use tax software, it will automatically calculate the Canada workers benefit for you.
If you file on paper, you need to fill out Schedule 6, found in the tax package for your province or territory.
Also, the government recently proposed to automatically issue advance payments of the Canada workers benefit to people who would have been entitled for the benefit in the previous year. The proposed changes would start in July 2023 and this initiative is pending Royal Assent.
For more information on the Canada workers benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.
[An individual writing on a piece of paper next to their laptop.]
Disability tax credit (DTC)
Laverne: 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.
Being eligible for the DTC can open the door and act as a gateway to other federal, provincial, and territorial programs, such as the registered disability savings plan, the Canada workers benefit, and the child disability benefit.
To learn more about the DTC, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.
[An individual in a wheelchair using a laptop.]
Canada Dental Benefit
Laverne: The government has launched the new interim Canada Dental Benefit. This benefit provides financial support for families who have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000, and have out-of-pocket dental care expenses for their children under 12 between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
If you are a parent or guardian of eligible children under 12 years old you will have to attest that:
- Your child does not have access to private dental insurance; and
- Your child’s dental costs are not fully covered by another dental program provided by any level of government.
In order to apply, remember that you need to be receiving the Canada Child Benefit for your child and to have filed your 2021 tax return. Also remember that you must keep your receipts or records from your dental appointment for 6 years.
Canada Dental Benefit
Laverne: Depending on your net income, your non-taxable Canada Dental Benefit payments could be as high as $650 per child, per year.
Applications launched on December 1, 2022, and the first year of the program will cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022 and until June 30, 2023.
[A child smiling for the camera.]
Canada Dental Benefit
Laverne: You can apply for the Canada dental benefit through My Account which is the quickest, easiest and most secure way to complete your application. If you apply online and are signed up for direct deposit, you could receive your payment within 5 business days!
Did you know that you can also securely access CRA’s My Account from your My Service Canada Account without having to sign in again or revalidate your identity? The link will take you directly to your CRA My Account within a single secure session, where you can then apply.
If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, please call 1-800-715-8836.
For more information on the Canada Dental Benefit, visit canada.ca/dental.
One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit
Laverne: The government has approved a one-time payment of $500 to assist lower-income renters 15 years and older. This benefit is available to renters who:
- have an adjusted family net income for 2021 of:
- $35,000 or less for families;
- $20,000 or less for individuals;
- and have paid at least 30% of their 2021 adjusted family net income on rent in 2022 for their own principal residence in Canada and can provide their landlord’s contact information.
For example, if the cost of your rent in 2022 is $500 per month, that means an expense of $6,000 for 12 months. If your adjusted family net income in 2021 was $20,000 or less, then you paid at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for your principal residence in Canada in 2022.
Applications for this single payment opened on December 12, 2022.
One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit
Laverne: You can apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit through My Account.
If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, please call 1-800-282-8079.
For more information on the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit including the online application form, visit canada.ca/one-time-housing-benefit.
Do your taxes on time
Laverne: The key to receiving your benefits and credits is doing your taxes…. on time! We know it 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.
So even if you didn’t earn any income in the year, or your income was tax-exempt, we need this information.
The deadline to do your taxes is generally April 30 every year. Filing by then allows us to calculate your payments and send them to you on time.
[A clock on top of a laptop keyboard.]
There are a few ways to do your taxes!
Laverne: There are a few ways to do your taxes:
You can do your taxes online. This is the fastest way as tax returns filed electronically are typically processed within two weeks. Certified software is available to make online filing easy, and some software products are even free. The tax software guides you and calculates everything for you. It helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits. For more information, go to canada.ca/netfile.
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 canada.ca/get-tax-help.
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. Filing a tax return by paper can take up to 10-12 weeks to process. To get a package, go to Canada.ca/taxes-general-package or call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305.
Free tax help
Laverne: You may be eligible to have your taxes done by a volunteer at a free tax clinic if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
The program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, or CVITP for short. In Quebec, it’s known as the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program, or ITAVP for short.
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, for example, 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.
For more information or to find a clinic near you, go to canada.ca/get-tax-help.
[The CRA Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) logo with the text “People helping people” in the centre.]
Laverne: The CVITP, or ITAVP in Quebec, is always looking for volunteers!
You can volunteer at a tax clinic in-person or virtually and help people do their taxes by videoconference, phone, or 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 canada.ca/taxes-volunteer.
[An individual using a laptop with the dog seated behind them.]
Have you received a letter from the CRA? No need to worry!
Laverne: 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 your marital status, proof that you are the primary caregiver of a child, 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.
[An individual looking a tablet in one hand while holding a paper in the other hand.]
Owing money to the CRA? We’re here to help!
Laverne: You may receive a phone call or letter from the CRA that says you owe money. The CRA understands that people may find it hard to pay their debts related to taxes and benefits.
Paying your debt in full by the due date helps you avoid interest and other legal and financial consequences. However, if you can’t pay, give us a call at 1-888-863-8657. Ignoring your debt does not make it go away.
We’re here to help and have flexible payment options available.
Our online Payment Arrangement Calculator can help you come up with a payment arrangement plan. After reviewing your financial details, the CRA will work with you to determine the amount and length of the payment arrangement.
If you do not call or make a payment arrangement, the CRA may take legal action to collect the balance.
If you’re ready to make a payment in full, you can use online banking, or the CRA’s My Payment and My Account services.
You can also make a payment in person at your financial institution or at a Canada Post location. Please note that participating Canada Post locations may charge a service fee.
Or you can send a cheque or money order to the CRA. Please do not send cash to the CRA if making a payment by mail.
For more information, visit canada.ca/payments.
In a situation of abuse?
Laverne: 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, the letter can be from 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.
Keep your personal information up to date
Laverne: 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, MyBenefits CRA mobile application, by mail, or an agent can assist you by phone.
[An individual using a laptop smiling for the camera.]
No permanent address?
Laverne: 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 of your new address right away. Otherwise, your payments may stop.
You can update your address online using My Account, or the MyBenefits CRA mobile application, or by mail or phone.
[An individual carrying a moving box as another individual follows holding a box as well.]
You may have uncashed cheques from the CRA
Laverne: There are many reasons you may have an uncashed cheque from the CRA.
It may have been lost, stolen, 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 canada.ca/cra-uncashed-cheques.
[An individual smiling at their laptop screen.]
Get your proof of income statement
Laverne: You might need to provide proof of income to a bank or a landlord.
You can get your proof of income statement online through My Account or by mail by calling the Tax information phone service at 1-800-267-6999. The information will be mailed to the address CRA has on file.
My Account for Individuals
Laverne: I’ve mentioned My Account a couple times already during today’s presentation and now I’ll cover this valuable service in more detail.
My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your individual tax affairs online on your own. You can track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments and statements, manage direct deposit, change your personal information, view any uncashed cheques, view your CRA mail online, such as your notice of assessment, and more.
For more information or to sign up, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account.
[A screenshot of the CRA My Account “Overview” page.]
Laverne: 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.
Be scam smart!
Laverne: You should always be cautious if you receive a communication that claims to be from the CRA.
It is possible to receive a direct communication from the CRA. We may, for example, need to provide you information about your account or ask you to clarify something you’ve shared with us.
We will not ask you for your bank account number, credit card number, or passport number or use threats or intimidation tactics.
Scammers often attempt to imitate the CRA to try to steal your personal information. They may target you by telephone, text, instant messaging, email, or mail.
Here’s how you can be scam smart:
- never be afraid to question why the CRA needs your personal information
- when in doubt, check My Account or My Business Account to see if you have mail or any amount owing
- you can also call the CRA to check on communications
- and, go to canada.ca/be-scam-smart to learn more!
You can also check out our Be Scam Smart webinar on the Individuals video gallery on Canada.ca! I’ll provide more details on this in a moment.
[An individual’s forehead with the text “Listen to your voice of reason before you act.” above.]
Want to learn more about taxes?
Laverne: We would like to invite you to try out our new online interactive tool called Learn about your taxes.
Go to canada.ca/learn-about-taxes to dive in and check it out.
This online self-directed tool takes you through starting your first job, completing a basic tax return, and the purpose of taxes.
It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, and links to websites where you can learn more.
And there are lesson plans for teachers and facilitators.
[A screenshot of the Learn about your taxes – Canada.ca webpage.]
Laverne: 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!
CRA general enquiries: 1-800-959-8281
Taxes – Canada.ca: canada.ca/taxes
Individuals video gallery – Canada.ca: canada.ca/individuals-video-gallery
Upcoming events – Canada.ca: canada.ca/cra-outreach-events
[Six individuals on an outdoor staircase smile for the camera.]
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