Webinar - Individuals with a modest income

Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired on January 24, 2024. For the most recent information on these topics, go to Tax-related benefits, credits, deductions and support - Canada.ca.


Get your benefits and credits!

Danielle: Hi, my name is Danielle, I work at the Canada Revenue Agency.

I’m very happy to be here today to talk to you about the benefit and credit payments that you could be eligible for and how to apply for them.

[Individual sitting at a table with their laptop open and an infant sitting on their lap.] 

Land acknowledgement

Danielle: I would like to respectfully acknowledge the territory in which we gather, as the ancestral unceded homelands of the Beothuk and the island of Newfoundland as the ancestral unceded homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk.

Given that we are meeting virtually, I also would also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered from and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself. 

[Indigenous symbols of an eagle, whale, instrument, leaf, boat, and infinity shape.]


Danielle: Today, we will cover:

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.

For the rest of this presentation, I’ll refer to the Canada Revenue Agency as the CRA.  

[Individual sitting at a desk writing on some forms. Laptop is open on the desk.]

Get the benefits and credits you may be eligible for!

Danielle: 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:

You may also be eligible for related federal, provincial or territorial payments.

Canada child benefit

Danielle: 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.

Each year, it may provide up to $7,437 for each of your children under 6 years of age and up to $6,275 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.

[Two young children in the background doing homework at a table, and an adult working on their laptop.]

Are you eligible for the Canada child benefit?

Danielle: To be eligible for the CCB, you must meet all of the following conditions:

You or your spouse or common-law partner must also be one of the following:

You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child if you:

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?

Danielle: 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 holding a toddler in their arms and both are smiling.]

Three ways to apply for the Canada child benefit

Danielle: If you meet all of the eligibility criteria I just mentioned, you can apply for the CCB in one of three ways:

Note that the automated benefits application is not available in the territory of Nunavut. 

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?

Danielle: 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.

For more information on the Canada child benefit, go to canada.ca/canada-child-benefit.

[An individual in a kitchen leaning over looking into the oven with their child beside them and both are laughing.]

GST/HST credit

Danielle: Next, we’ll talk about one of the CRA’s most common credits – the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly known as the GST/HST credit.

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 file your taxes every year, even if you have no income to report, or tax exempt income.

The CRA will confirm if you are eligible, and how much you will get when you do your taxes.

For more information on the GST/HST credit, please visit canada.ca/gst-hst-credit.

[Two individuals smiling, the one adult is hugging the older adult.]

Eligibility for the GST/HST credit

Danielle: You may be eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada and at least one of the following applies:

If you are under 19 years old, you must meet at least one of the following conditions during the same period:

Climate action incentive payment (CAIP)

Danielle: Just like the GST/HST credit, you may also be eligible to receive the climate action incentive payment when you turn 19.

The climate action incentive payment is a tax-free amount paid to help individuals and families offset the cost of the federal pollution pricing. It is available to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. It consists of a basic amount and a supplement for residents of small and rural communities.

The payment is issued in quarterly tax free payments made through the benefit system.

The amount you receive depends on your family situation and the province where you live. For instance, based on the 2022 tax year, a couple with one child living in Alberta could be eligible to receive an annual credit of up to $1,351.

Like the GST/HST credit, to get the climate action incentive payment, all you have to do is file your taxes every year, even if you have no income to report.

For more information, go to canada.ca/cai-payment.

[An individual sitting at a desk writing on some forms.]

Canada workers benefit

Danielle: 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 $1,518 a year. No basic amount is paid if your adjusted family net income is more than $35,095.

For families, the maximum basic amount is $2,616 a year. No basic amount is paid if your adjusted family net income is more than $45,934. 

The maximum CWB amount will be different for residents of Alberta, Nunavut and Quebec.   

[Two individuals smiling, wearing work aprons, and both are looking at a package in one individual’s hands.]

Eligibility for the Canada workers benefit

Danielle: Let’s look into the eligibility for the Canada workers benefit:

In addition to having earned working income, you must be:

 You cannot claim the Canada workers benefit:

Note that even if you are eligible for the CWB, you will not receive any amount if your income is above the threshold mentioned on the previous slide since it is a tax credit for low income workers.

If you are married or have a common-law partner, only one of you will receive the CWB for your family.

How to claim

Danielle: 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 will need to fill out Schedule 6, Canada workers benefit, found in the tax package for your province or territory.

As of July 2023, automatic payments for the Canada workers benefit will be issued to people who were entitled to the benefit in the previous year.

For more information on the Canada workers benefit and the disability supplement, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.

[An individual sitting at a table, their laptop is open and they are writing on a paper.]

Disability tax credit (DTC)

Danielle: 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. A supporting family member can be a spouse or common-law partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the person with the disability.

The purpose of the DTC is to provide some relief for the unavoidable, additional expenses that result from living with a disability. It helps to offset costs that other taxpayers don’t have to face.

Being eligible for the disability tax credit can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as the child disability benefit and the Canada workers benefit disability supplement.

For more information on the DTC, the benefits, credits, and deductions you may be entitled to, and long-term savings programs provided by the Government of Canada, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

[An individual at a desk, using sign language to communicate with someone on their laptop.]

Child disability benefit

Danielle: The child disability benefit is paid monthly to the person who receives the Canada child benefit for that child.

A valid DTC certificate is required to receive the child disability benefit.

The child disability benefit is for families who care for a child under 18 who is eligible for the CCB and the DTC. It is a tax-free payment of up to $3,173 annually.

If you are already been receiving the CCB for a child in your care who is eligible for the DTC, you do not need to apply for the child disability benefit. It will be automatically included with your CCB payments.

If the child is determined to be eligible for previous years, the child disability benefit will automatically be issued for up to two previous CCB benefit years.  For years before that, you will have to send a written statement to the attention of the CCB entitlement team at the tax centre that serves your area.

 For more information on the child disability benefit, go to canada.ca/child-disability-benefit.

[Young child sitting on the floor playing with toy blocks.]

Canada Dental Benefit

Danielle: The Canada Dental 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.

Depending on your net income, your non-taxable Canada Dental Benefit payments could be as high as $650 per child, per benefit period.

If you are a parent or guardian of eligible children under 12 years old, you will have to attest that:

In order to apply, remember that:

The current benefit period covers dental care services your child received or will receive between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. You have until June 30, 2024 to apply for this period.

The quickest, easiest and most secure way to apply for the Canada Dental Benefit is through My Account. If you apply online and are signed up for direct deposit, you could receive your payment within five business days!

If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, you can apply by calling 1-800-715-8836.

Visit canada.ca/dental and access more information on the Canada Dental Benefit.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC)

Danielle: The Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC) is a new refundable tax credit. It can be claimed on your income tax and benefit return starting in tax year 2023.

If you are eligible, you can claim this credit for certain renovation expenses spent to create a self-contained secondary unit.

The secondary unit must allow an adult 65 years of age or older, or an adult who is eligible for the disability tax credit, to live with a qualifying relative .

A qualifying relative is both:

You can claim up to $50,000 in qualifying expenditures for each qualifying renovation completed. The tax credit is 15% of your costs, up to a maximum of $7,500, for each claim you are eligible to make.

For more information, go to canada.ca/cra-mhrtc.

[A diverse family cooking dinner at a gathering. There are older adults, young adults and children.]

Use the Benefits Finder and the online calculator

Danielle: To find out what benefits you may be eligible for, you can use our Benefits Finder online at canada.ca/benefits-finder. By answering a few questions, the Benefits Finder will customize a list of benefits.  

You can also use the CRA calculator. To see how much you could get in child and family benefits go to canada.ca/child-family-benefits-calculator.

[Icon of a blue calculator.]

Do your taxes on time

Danielle: 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 small clock sitting on a computer keyboard.]

There are a few ways to do your taxes!

Danielle: 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. For more information, go to canada.ca/netfile.

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.

Please note, if the CRA does not have your complete date of birth on record, you may not be able to do your taxes online. Make sure to also sign up for direct deposit, so if you are eligible for a refund, you can receive it faster!

Volunteers may also 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. You must use the package for the province you lived in on December 31. Filing a tax return by paper can take up to 10 to 12 weeks to process.

To get a package, go to canada.ca/taxes-general-package or call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305

SimpleFile by Phone (formerly File My Return)

Danielle: You may also be eligible to file your return over the phone using SimpleFile by Phone, formerly File my return. This service is tailored to individuals with a simple tax situation and allows them to automatically file their income tax and benefit return using the keypad of their phone.

Individuals will get an invitation letter from the CRA in mid-February, there is no need to self-identify. The letter will provide more information and a phone number for you to call to have your return filed. It’s as simple as that!

The SimpleFile by Phone service is free, secure, and easy to use. All you have to do is confirm some personal information and answer a series of short questions using the keypad on your phone. There are no forms to fill out or calculations to do! You do not need to speak to a contact centre agent to use the service.

If you live in Québec, the service only files the federal income tax and benefit return. You will need to do your provincial tax return separately.

For more information on the SimpleFile by Phone service, visit canada.ca/simplefile

[Older adult sitting down talking on their cellphone.]

Free tax help

Danielle: 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, 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 logo for the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).]

Have you received a letter from the CRA? No need to worry!

Danielle: 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 have already received.  

[Individual sitting down on the floor looking over documentation.]

Owe money to the CRA? We’re here to help!

Danielle: 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. 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. To make a payment arrangement, call the CRA at 1-888-863-8657.

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.

[Dollar sign icon with circular bidirectional arrows.]

In a situation of abuse?

Danielle: 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:

 After you’ve submitted any of the mentioned documents, no additional action is needed on your part, and your review will end.

Keep your personal information up to date

Danielle: Along with doing your taxes every year, you must keep your personal information up to date to keep getting benefits and credits.

This includes:

You can update this information using CRA’s My Account, MyBenefits CRA and MyCRA mobile applications, by mail, or an agent can assist you by phone.

[An older individual sitting with their laptop open and smiling.]

No permanent address?

Danielle: 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.

You can update your address online using My Account, the MyBenefits CRA or MyCRA mobile applications, or by mail or phone.

[Individual walking with a moving box.]

You may have uncashed cheques from the CRA

Danielle: 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.

Individuals and their representatives can view their 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.

Use My Account to see if you have uncashed cheques

Never miss another payment by signing up for direct deposit.  

For more information, visit canada.ca/cra-uncashed-cheques

[An icon representing a cheque.]

My Account for individuals

Danielle: Once you do your taxes for the first time and you receive your notice of assessment, you can register for the CRA’s My Account.

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.

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, your marital status, the number of children in your care and your direct deposit information. You can instantly update all this information on your own through My Account!

You can also:

For more information or to register for My Account, go to the canada.ca/my-cra-account.

[Screenshot of the "My Account" webpage.]

Digital services

Danielle: In addition to My Account, there are many digital services available from the CRA. Here are a few that I’ll tell you about.

Auto-fill my return – is a secure CRA service that automatically fills in parts of your tax return with information the CRA has available at the time of your request, making it easier to do your taxes and helping to prevent mistakes.

Direct deposit – is a fast, reliable and secure way for individuals to get payments on time from the CRA in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster, or an emergency.

Email notifications – help prevent fraud. Email notifications from the CRA let you know when changes are made to your personal information in My Account or there is CRA mail to view online.

For more information on the CRA’s digital services, go to canada.ca/cra-digital-services.

Need help?

Danielle: 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! Remember to check your account if you have changed tax preparers or representatives. This ensures that only the people you want to have access to your account can do so.

You don’t need to authorize someone as a representative if that person is only doing your taxes.

Be scam smart!

Danielle: You should always be cautious if you receive 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 your credit card or passport numbers 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:

You can also check out our Be Scam Smart webinar on the Individuals video gallery on Canada.ca!

[Text on top of an individual's head reads, "Listen to your voice of reason before you act".]

Want to learn more about taxes?

Danielle: We would like to invite you to try out our online interactive tool called Learn about your taxes. Learn about your taxes is for students, first-time tax filers, newcomers, and anyone who wants a refresher on how to do their taxes.

This online, self-directed tool takes you through starting your first job, completing a basic tax return, the purpose of taxes and much more. It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, lessons, exercises and links to websites where you can learn more.

There are also lesson plans for teachers and facilitators.

The Learn about your taxes tool is regularly updated with new content! Go to canada.ca/learn-about-taxes to dive in and check it out.

[Screen shot of the main "Learn about your taxes" web page.]

Thank you!

Danielle: And that’s all for me! This is the end of our webinar. Thank you for joining us today! We hope it was helpful!

For more information on any related topics, start your search at canada.ca/taxes.

We also encourage you to visit our Upcoming Events page at canada.ca/cra-outreach-events to view past recordings and to register for upcoming webinars.  

Thank you for listening and enjoy your day!

Stay connected:

Twitter: @CanRevAgency

Facebook: canrevagency

YouTube: CanRevAgency

LinkedIn: cra-arc

Instagram: @canrevagency

[Six students standing on a set of steps holding their bags and books.] 

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