Webinar for persons with disabilities part 2
Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired, on December 15, 2021. For the most recent information on these topics, go to the following website: Disability tax credit (DTC)
Hi, my name is Nicole, I work at the Canada Revenue Agency, also known as the CRA. I'm very happy to be here today to talk to you about the disability tax credit and other benefits and credits available to persons with disabilities.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am presenting to you from 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.
We recognize that everyone on the line is joining us from different places. We invite you to take a moment to reflect on the territory that you are joining us from.
Here are the topics we'll cover today. I want to start by giving you an overview of the disability tax credit.
Next, I'll touch on the child disability benefit, the Canada workers benefit disability supplement, the Canada caregiver credit, medical expenses, and the registered disability savings plan.
I am also going to explain the GST/HST credit and give you some pointers on how to avoid scams.
And finally, I will tell you about some CRA services that you might find useful.
Let's get started!
What is the Disability Tax credit?
The disability tax credit is commonly referred to as the DTC. The purpose of the DTC is to provide some relief for unavoidable, additional expenses that result from living with a disability. It helps to offset costs other taxpayers don't have to face.
The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members. Because it is non-refundable it reduces the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
A supporting family member can be a spouse or common-law partner, parent, grand-parent, child, grand-child, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the person with the disability.
A supplement for persons under 18 years of age is available if they are eligible.
Being eligible for the DTC can open the door and act as a gatekeeper to other federal, provincial, and territorial programs such as the registered disability savings plan, the Canada workers benefit, and the child disability benefit. This aspect of the DTC is particularly important for those with a low income. It is important that all eligible individuals apply for the DTC regardless of their taxable income in order to qualify for other disability-related programs, benefits and plans. They cannot access these critical programs without first qualifying for the DTC.
The child disability benefit, or CDB for short, is a tax-free payment of up to $2,915 annually.
It's made for families who care for a child under age 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
And, the CDB is paid in monthly installments to the person who receives the Canada child benefit for that child.
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.
If you're not getting the Canada child benefit for your child, contact the CRA.
The next credit on our list is the Canada workers benefit, or the CWB for short.
The CWB is a refundable tax credit of up to $2,379 for low income workers and their families.
Individuals who are eligible for the disability tax credit and the CWB may also receive a CWB disability supplement of up to $700.
You apply for the CWB when you do your taxes. Tax software will automatically calculate it. And if you file on paper, completing Schedule 6 will allow you to apply.
You can also apply to receive up to half of your benefit in advanced payments, which include the disability supplement portion.
You can apply for advance payments through My Account or by mail.
Now, let's have a look at the Canada caregiver credit, or CCC for short.
The CCC is for those who support a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment.
The credit may also be claimed for an individual or their spouse's or common-law partner's child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew.
An individual is considered to depend on someone for support if they rely on them to regularly and consistently provide them with some or all of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing.
The person with the impairment must also be resident in Canada at any time in the year.
One note to keep in mind – when claiming the CCC, the CRA may ask for a signed statement for the individual from a medical practitioner showing when the impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be.
However, you don't need one if the CRA already has an approved Form T2201, for the Disability Tax Credit, for a specified period for them.
The CCC is a non refundable tax credit. This means it reduces the amount of income tax the supporter may have to pay.
Now let's look at relief for the cost of medical expenses.
Claiming them on your tax return can help you get some of that money back.
You can claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for yourselves and your children under 18 years of age.
You can also claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for certain family members who depended on you for support and were residents of Canada at any time in the year.
More information on who you can claim for can be found on our website.
In terms of expenses, you can claim a wide range of products, procedures, and services, such as medical supplies, dental care, and travel expenses.
But you can only claim the part of an eligible expense for which you have not been or will not be reimbursed. So, if you've received a portion of the cost you paid through an insurance claim, you can't claim the amount that was reimbursed.
You should note that most claims don't require you to be eligible for the disability tax credit.
Next up, did you know that you could claim renovation expenses you paid to make your home more accessible?
You may be able to claim this tax credit if you own a home in Canada and you paid for eligible renovations to improve the safety or accessibility for yourself or another eligible individual who qualifies for the credit.
You can claim up to $10,000 per year in eligible expenses. This could result in a tax credit of up to $1,500.
You may qualify for this credit if you're 65 or older, or if you qualify for the disability tax credit.
You may also claim this credit on your tax return for a dependant, if certain criteria are met.
First, the renovations must be for the main residence of the qualifying person.
And second, the renovations must either be a permanent part of the home and allow the person to access the home, or be mobile or functional within the home. Or, they must reduce the risk of harm within the home or in accessing the home.
Let's take a break from all the tax talk now, and shift gears to how the Government of Canada can help you save for long-term costs.
A registered disability savings plan, or RDSP for short, is intended to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
Contributions to an RDSP can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59.
The government will pay a matching grant of between 100% – 300% into the RDSP, depending on the beneficiary's adjusted family net income and the amount contributed. An RDSP can get a maximum of $3,500 in matching grants in one year, and up to $70,000 over the beneficiary's lifetime.
For low and modest -income Canadians, the Government of Canada will also pay into the RDSP with the Canada disability savings bond of up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of $20,000 over the beneficiary's lifetime. No personal contributions have to be made to get the bond.
Both the grant and the bond are administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Another government program that can help you with your long term planning is the home buyers plan.
The Home Buyers' Plan or HBP is a program that allows you to withdraw from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. The HBP allows you to pay back the withdrawn funds within a 15-year period.
You can withdraw from more than one RRSP as long as you are the owner of each RRSP. Your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on withdrawn amounts of $35,000 or less.
Certain conditions must be met in order to be eligible to participate in the HBP, including the following:
- You must be considered a first-time home buyer.
- You must have a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home, either for yourself or for a related person with a disability.
- You must be a resident of Canada when you withdraw funds from your RRSPs under the HBP and up to the time a qualifying home is bought or built.
- You must intend to occupy the qualifying home as your principal place of residence within one year after buying or building it.
If you buy or build a qualifying home for a related person with a disability, or help a related person with a disability to buy or build a qualifying home, the individual with a disability must use and consider that home as their principal place of residence.
Next we'll talk about one of the CRA's most common credits - the GST/HST credit. This credit is a quarterly tax-free payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset the GST or HST that they pay.
You don't have to apply. When you do your taxes, the CRA will determine your eligibility for the credit. If you are eligible, the CRA will issue GST/HST credit payments to you.
If you receive the Canada Child Benefit for your child, they are also registered for the GST/HST credit and you will receive an amount for that child if they are eligible.
For the 2020 base year, which is payment periods from July 2021 to June 2022, You could receive up to:
- $456 if you are single
- $598 if you are married or have a common-law partner
- $157 for each child under the age of 19
Amounts are divided into four payments a year and paid on the 5th of July, October, January, and April.
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.
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.
The email will ask you to view the document in a secure CRA portal such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client.
Or, you may receive an email because you 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. In this case, the CRA agent will send the information to your email during the 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!
You should be careful when receiving a telephone call, a text message, an email, or mail from someone claiming to be from the CRA asking for personal information such as a social insurance number, a credit card number, a bank account number, or a passport number.
These scammers may insist that personal information is needed so 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 the taxpayer is then asked to verify their 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.
Now that we know what the CRA will not ask for, let's check out some ways we can be scam smart.
One way is to take a minute when you get a message to ask yourself the question: "why does the CRA need the personal information that's being requested?"
When in doubt, you can also check if you have mail or any amount owing in My Account .
If you don't then make sure to delete the message you received.
Never click on the link before you are sure it comes from the CRA.
You can also contact the CRA. And visit Canada.ca/be-scam-smart to learn more!
You can report a scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at the web address on your screen, or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
Before we wrap up, I'd like to cover some other topics and services you may find useful.
There are many digital services available from the CRA. Here are a few that I would like to tell you about.
Auto-fill my return – is a secure CRA service that automatically fills in parts of your tax return making it easier to do your taxes and helping prevent mistakes
Direct deposit – is a fast, reliable, and secure way for individuals to get payments from the CRA on time in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances.
Email notifications – helps 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-electronic-services
The CRA has some tools to help you.
My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information, and manage your individual tax affairs online. You can track your refund, view or change your tax 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, view any uncashed cheques, and more.
When you sign into My Account, the first page you'll see is the Overview page. This page is constantly evolving, but it should resemble something like this.
For more information or to sign up, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account.
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 we want to stress the importance of filing your taxes.
Filing your taxes is the only way to get the many benefits and credits that are calculated based on your income.
We need the information in your taxes to calculate your payments—such as the Canada child benefit, the child disability benefit, and the GST/HST credit.
So even if you didn't earn any income in the year, we need this information.
The deadline to do your taxes is generally April 30 every year.
Filing by this day allows us to calculate your payments and send them to you without delays.
You should also know that you don't have to wait until filing season to submit your T2201, Disability Tax Credit application. Submit your application at any time during the year to be able to claim the disability amount on your tax return.
Everyone should now agree that you have to do your taxes.
The fastest and easiest way to do your taxes is online. You can use tax software or a web application, available at the first web address shown on the 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.
- Some tax software are even free.
Now, you may not like using computers and that's okay. You can 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 the 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 more about this service next.
As I just mentioned, you may be able to get your taxes done by a volunteer, for free! You're eligible for this service if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Generally, you have a modest income if you have income of less than $35,000 for a single person and less than $45,000 for a couple.
Your tax situation is simple if you don't have a small business or income from a rental property.
Tax preparation clinics are held throughout the year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.
During the pandemic, we have created virtual tax clinics to serve those who, due to the pandemic or other physical barriers, may not have access to an actual tax clinic location.
In the province of Quebec, volunteers do both federal and provincial taxes for eligible individuals.
For more information or to find a volunteer near you, go to the web address on the screen.
That concludes the webinar. We hope we helped you better understand the benefits and credits that are related to the DTC.
Thank you for joining us today.
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