Make sure you maximize the benefits you are entitled to if you are First Nations, Inuit, or Métis
March 16, 2023
Canada Revenue Agency
We want to help you get the benefits and credits you are entitled to. To make sure you continue getting your benefit and credit payments, you, and your spouse or common-law partner, need to file your taxes. This is true even if your income is tax exempt under section 87 of the Indian Act or you had no income at all. Here are a few tips to help you.
Canada Dental Benefit
Applications for the new temporary Canada Dental Benefit opened on December 1, 2022. Your family could be eligible if you have children under 12 years old and your adjusted family net income is less than $90,000 per year.
The Canada Dental Benefit provides financial support for dental care provided to children under 12 years old if they do not have access to private dental insurance. If your child is already covered under another government dental program (like the Non-Insured Health Benefits program) they may also be eligible if not all dental care costs are paid by that program. Your family can apply for a payment for each eligible child.
One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit
You could be eligible for a one-time tax-free payment of $500 through the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. Applications are open until Friday, March 31, 2023.
To be eligible for this benefit, you must:
- have filed a 2021 tax return, and if you have a spouse or common-law partner, they have filed their 2021 income tax return as well;
- be at least 15 years old as of December 1, 2022;
- be a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes;
- have a principal residence located in Canada on December 1, 2022;
- have an adjusted family net income of $20,000 or less for individuals, or $35,000 or less for families;
- have paid at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for your principal residence in the 2022 calendar year; and
- be able to provide your 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information.
How to apply:
There are four ways to apply for this benefit. Applying with a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account is the quickest, most secure way to get your money.
- Complete the application on My Account. You do not need to wait for your security code in the mail to apply for your benefits. You can still access limited services in My Account including this application.
- Sign in to your My Service Canada Account to securely create and open a CRA My Account without having to sign in again or revalidate your identity.
- Use the web-form application without having to sign into a CRA My Account or My Service Canada Account. Note: You cannot use the web form to make changes to your address or account information. If you need to update your personal or banking information, please apply through My Account.
- If you are not able to apply for this benefit online, you can call us at 1-800-282-8079 to complete your application with an agent.
COVID-19 benefits and your return
The COVID-19 benefits are generally taxable. Any amounts you received in 2022 must be reported on your 2022 income tax and benefit return unless some or all of the amounts are exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act.
If you received the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, or the Canada Workers Lockdown Benefit in 2022, 10% tax was withheld when you received it. Since these benefits are taxable, there is a chance that you may owe tax or be entitled to a refund when you file your return. This will depend on your personal circumstances, the type of COVID-19 benefits you received, and your other sources of income, deductions and credits.
If you are registered under the Indian Act or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act and some/all of your income is exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act, you may be able to get a refund for some or all of the taxes withheld from your 2022 payments once you file your 2022 return.
If you received COVID-19 benefits in 2022, you will receive a T4A slip. You will receive this slip by mail and electronically through My Account. Residents of Quebec will receive both a T4A and RL-1 slip.
Also, if you received any COVID-19 benefits in 2020 or 2021 and didn’t file your taxes for those years, it’s not too late! Your tax return helps us determine if you should get a refund for part or all of the tax that was withheld on payments you received. Please include any T4A slips for your emergency benefits if you have them.
The CRA is reviewing taxpayer eligibility for COVID-19 benefits. If you received emergency benefits, we may contact you as part of that effort to confirm your eligibility. If we cannot confirm your eligibility, the ineligible amounts you received will have to be repaid to the CRA. If you received a repayment letter but cannot pay an existing debt in full, we have flexible payment arrangements that may allow you to pay your debt over a longer period of time based on your ability to pay. If you are unable to pay the CRA back right away, visit the following links for information on Collection of individual COVID-19 benefits issued by the CRA or Collection of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) issued by Service Canada to learn more.
COVID-19 benefits repayments
If you received a letter from the CRA or Employment and Social Development Canada, please follow the instructions provided. We understand that receiving a letter from the CRA or contacting us can be stressful. If there is something in your letter that is not clear, or if there is a question you cannot answer, please call us at the general inquiries number below for more information. The letter you have received will also provide a phone number where you can reach us. We appreciate that everyone’s situation is different, and we are here to help.
Please note: The CRA will not deduct your Canada child benefit payments to pay debts related to the COVID-19 Canada Emergency or Recovery Benefit payments.
Filing your taxes
Reporting your income helps us determine what benefits and credits you could receive. You can choose to report the part of your income that isn’t taxed on Form T90, Income Exempt From Tax Under the Indian Act. This information lets us determine your Canada training credit limit, your Canada workers benefit, and calculate your family’s provincial or territorial benefits.
If you are First Nations, Inuit, or Métis (regardless of status, membership, or community residency), you may be able to use the “Simple File: Let Us Help You Get Your Benefits!” credit and benefit short return form to file your taxes. It is only available on paper through band council offices, friendship centres, CRA officers, or community representatives, and cannot be downloaded. Please contact the resource most accessible to you or visit the Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples page to see if you meet the eligibility criteria to use these forms.
Working from home: Income tax exemption
Many people experienced work differently during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you were required to work from your home located on a reserve, your employment income could now be fully or partially exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act. To find out if your income is exempt, visit Indian Act Exemption for Employment Income Guidelines.
You may also be eligible to claim home office expenses.
If you were required to work off-reserve as a result of workplace restrictions, it may have impacted your tax exemption. To find out if your income is still exempt visit CRA and COVID-19 – Indigenous income tax issues.
Be sure to inform your employer if your income is tax-exempt. They will need to complete a TD1-IN Determination of Exemption of an Indian's Employment Income form and issue your T4 slip accordingly. If you have questions about your situation, visit Information on the tax exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act.
If you lived in a prescribed zone for a period of at least six consecutive months, you may be able to claim the northern residents deductions. The CRA also recently launched the simplified northern residents travel deduction, a pilot project to make it easier for northern residents to determine lowest return airfare, one of the three amounts required to claim the travel deduction come tax time. Visit our page on Northern residents for the most up-to-date information on those deductions.
Help for you and your family
There are several benefits and credits available to offer financial support to you and your family. The Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, and the Canada workers benefit are some examples. Find out if you are eligible by reading our guide Benefits and credits: Information for Indigenous peoples.
To get the benefits or credits you are entitled to, including related provincial & territorial credits, you and your spouse or common-law partner (if you have one) need to file your taxes on time each year. This is because the CRA uses the information from your tax return to determine if you are entitled to these benefits and credits.
Get free tax help
The CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program works in collaboration with community organizations to set up free volunteer-based tax preparation clinics for individuals with a modest income and simple tax situation. These clinics help eligible individuals file their tax returns in order to access the benefits and credits designed to support them. This service is offered by videoconference, telephone, or via document drop-off arrangement. To learn if you’re eligible or to find a tax clinic near you, go to canada.ca/taxes-help. You can also contact your band office or friendship centre for information on free tax clinics offered in your community.
We are here to help
The CRA understands that everyone’s situation is unique and that many taxpayers are still experiencing financial strain. If you received a repayment letter but cannot pay an existing debt in full, payment arrangement options are being expanded. These options are designed to give Canadians more time and flexibility based on their current situation.
For more information on how to pay the CRA, visit canada.ca/payments.
- Benefits and credits Factsheet: Indigenous peoples (available in 16 languages)
- Free webinar on March 29, 2023 – Benefits and credits for Indigenous peoples. Register at Upcoming events.
Telephone numbers for individuals and businesses
General enquiries: 1-800-959-8281
General enquiries for residents of the territories: 1-866-426-1527
Business enquiries: 1-800-959-5525
Your may also visit the Contact the Canada Revenue Agency webpage for more information.
Canada Revenue Agency
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