In Canada, and across the world even, money is on everyone’s mind. Every dollar counts, so when it's easy to get extra money without paying taxes, you want to take full advantage of it.
That may sound like a pipe dream, but child and family benefits from the government are just that. Tax free income that takes little effort to obtain. And they aren’t just for parents and married taxpayers. While the name may be misleading, child and family benefits are for individuals as well.
Many people who could get these benefits don't because they don't apply.
You may think that’s because it is difficult and there are lots of hoops to jump through. But while there are several different benefits to apply for, you only have to do one thing to claim each of them - file your taxes every year. This is in part because eligibility and/or the amount for most of the benefits received, though not all, is based on your income. To determine which benefits you are entitled to and how much you receive, the CRA must be able to review your previous year tax year (i.e. your 2023/24 benefit year amounts and eligibility are based on your 2022 income.)
For other benefits that don’t require income to determine amounts and eligibility, filing your taxes acts as the key to unlock the reward. If you fall behind on filing, the government won’t release your benefits to you until you are all caught up.
Once returns are filed, the government will start paying out benefits to eligible recipients throughout the following benefit year which, for 2023/24, is July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 for any benefits based on your income.
If you filed your taxes on time, you should have already received them. If you filed late, you’ll still receive the benefits, but there may be a delay. For those who have yet to file, you will not receive any payments until you send in your income tax return(s).
If you haven’t filed and are wondering what you’re missing out on (or you have filed and are curious about what benefits are available for the 2023/24 tax year), keep reading.
The GST/HST credit is received four times a year on the 5th of July, October, January, and April. This credit was designed to help offset the sales tax you pay on the items you buy. If you're at least 19 years old, have a partner, or live with your child, you might get it.
The benefit you receive is based on your household income and size. The maximum amount that single Canadians can receive is $496 for single individuals, $650 for couples (whether married or common-law, and $171 per child under the age of 19. Once your children turn 19, they will get their own benefit payment so long as they file a return. The amount you receive gets reduced depending on how much money you make.
Visit the CRA website to see benefit amounts for various income levels and family sizes.
Climate Action Incentive
If you live in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, there's something called the Climate Action Incentive Payment. This benefit is supposed to help offset the federal carbon tax and is paid out on the 15th of April, July, October, and January.
If you're 19 or older, have a partner, or live with your child, you’re eligible.
Unlike GST/HST and some of the other benefits we will talk about, this benefit is not based on household income. It is a flat rate paid to Canadians based on their family makeup.
In Ontario, individuals receive $488. If you’re married or have a common law partner, you will receive an additional $244. Keep in mind, only one of you can claim this benefit on behalf of the household so your spouse won’t be able to claim the $488 for themselves as well.
You also receive $122 for any child under 19. If you are a single parent, you will receive the spousal amount of $244 for your first child and $121 for every child after that.
If you live outside of a census metropolitan area in a small rural community, you also get an extra 10%.
The amounts differ from one province to the next. To see the other provincial Climate Action Incentive Amounts, visit the CRA website.
Canada’s Worker Benefit
The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is for people with lower incomes who work and are 19 or older, married or have children that they live with. The money you get depends on how much you make.
The maximum benefit a single person can receive is $1,428. Once you start making more than $23,495, this benefit amount begins to reduce. If you make more than $33,015, you’re no longer eligible.
For families, you can receive up to $2,461. This amount is reduced once your household income is more than $26,805 a year. Once your household income reaches $43,212, you will no longer receive the payment.
To receive this benefit, you must file a Schedule 6, which your tax professional can help you with.
For families with kids, there's the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This is like extra money to help with the costs of raising kids. In situations where parents live apart, the parent who is primarily responsible for the children will receive it.
The amount you get changes based on how old your kids are and how many you have.
For those under 6 years old, the maximum amount is $7,437 per year per child. For those 6 to 17, the maximum amount is $6,275 per year per child. These amounts will begin to reduce once your 2022 household income is $34,863.
CCB is paid out on a monthly basis from July 2023 to June 2024.
Lastly, there's the "Grocery Rebate." This is the newest benefit and is a special payment that's meant to help with the increasing cost of groceries. This is a one time payment received in July 2023 and will be equal to two times your first GST/HST tax credit. So, if you received $89 in July as a GST/HST rebate, you should have also received $178 as a Grocery Rebate.
Don't let tax-free money slip away - claim the support you're entitled to. Interested in learning more about the tax benefits you’re entitled to? Contact Koroll & Company today.