Please note that starting in 2019, the Working Income Tax Benefit has been replaced by the Canada Workers Benefit. The information presented here is for individuals preparing tax returns for 2018 and earlier.

The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is a benefit designed to help individuals and families who have low-income. The benefit is refundable, so you may be entitled to an amount even if you don’t pay federal income tax.

Most of us want to make sure we’re getting the maximum tax refund possible and every benefit we deserve, especially if finances are tight. So, if you’re asking yourself if you’re eligible for the Working Income Tax Benefit, you’re in the right place.

Determining Eligibility For the WITB

  • As a general rule, any Canadian resident who is 19 years old or older, has income and is not a full-time student is eligible for the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). There are a couple of exceptions, but as long as you’re not a foreign diplomat or in prison, you qualify!
  • The amount of benefit you qualify for is based on your working income. The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is intended to help people with low-income, so, if you made more money than the threshold amount, you won’t get a benefit amount.
  • The threshold amounts vary based on your family makeup, like whether you’re married or have dependants, and also where you live, since the amounts vary slightly by province.
  • There are different, higher income thresholds for individuals and families that qualify for WITB disability supplement.

The Canada Revenue Agency has a great chart that details the various working income thresholds, by family makeup to help you figure out if you’re eligible for the benefit.

Calculating Your Benefit Amount

Canada Revenue Agency’s child and family benefit calculator is a great tool for estimating what your benefit amount will be if you qualify.

Simply answer their quick questions about your family makeup and how much working income you made in the error (or an estimate) and the calculator will tell you if you qualify and if so, how much you can expect.

Advance Payments

If you think you will be eligible for the WITB in the upcoming year, you can apply for and receive advance payments of the credit for up to 50 percent of the maximum amount.

Applications for advance payments must be made between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1 of each year using the RC201 tax form — Working Income Tax Benefit Advance Payment Application. The CRA will process your application, and if you are eligible, you will receive the payments about every three months. You can find the payment schedule and amounts in your CRA My Account.

Then, when you file your income tax return for the year, the CRA will determine if you were entitled to a larger payment and will include it in your assessment. Conversely, if you received a WITB payment that was larger than what you are entitled to, it will be assessed and you’ll need to pay the difference back to the CRA.