Can I claim rent on my tax return if I live in Ontario?

If you live in Ontario, you may qualify for the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC), which is a part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

Though we technically are not claiming rent on our taxes, the amount of rent, property taxes, or long term housing costs paid by you throughout the year is used to help calculate your benefit.

The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB)

The Ontario Trillium Benefit is a tax credit is based on your adjusted family net income and is reduced when your income exceeds certain amounts based on your family situation. You may qualify for either the Energy Credit portion, the Property Tax Credit portion, or both.  Even students in residence may be eligible for the credit!

The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC)

You can apply for the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit if you have a low to middle-income and you live in Ontario. This tax credit helps with rent and property taxes paid to your municipal government and is part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

How to Qualify for the OEPTC

To qualify, you must be living in Ontario at the beginning of the payment month, and at least one of the following apply:

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You are currently or were previously married or in a common law relationship.
  • You are a parent who lives or previously lived with your child.

And in the previous year, you:

  • Rented or paid property tax for your main residence
  • Lived on a reserve and paid for your home energy costs
  • Lived in a public long term care home (e.g., a seniors’ home) and paid an amount for your accommodation

Your eligibility also depends on where you live on the 1st of each month. For example, if you move out of Ontario on November 10, you would be eligible for the November OEPTC payment, but you wouldn’t be eligible for any subsequent payment.

How Much Can You Receive?

Your tax credit amount is determined by the following:

  • Your income
  • Your age
  • Your marital status/family size
  • How much you paid for property tax or rent on your principal residence in the current tax year
  • How much you paid in energy bills
  • How much you paid for a public nursing home in the tax year, and your adjusted family net income
  • Whether you lived in a designated Ontario university, college or private school residence

Check out the CRA online calculation sheets to see what you might qualify for.

How Do I Apply for the OEPTC?

TurboTax Free makes it easy to apply for the Ontario Trillium Benefit with easy step-by-step directions. When using TurboTax Free, click on the heading titled Provincial and click Get Started.  Click on Continue and answer Yes to the question, “Did any of these apply to you and you want to apply for the OEPTC?”  Click on Continue and you will be prompted to enter the details of your rent paid.

If you file your taxes without using TurboTax, you will need to apply for this tax credit by filling out Form ON-BEN (Application for the Ontario Trillium Benefit and the Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant). This is included as part of your personal income tax and benefit return.

It’s worth filing your tax return even if you do not have a balance owing, as this is a refundable tax credit. You still receive it, even if you do not have any taxable income. File your tax return on time as filing after April 30 could delay your payment; and, be sure to apply each year if you qualify for the benefit.

How will I receive the OTB payment?

If you qualify for the OEPTC benefit, it will be added to the payment for the Ontario sales tax credit and/or the NOEC, and you’ll receive one combined Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) payment.

The OTB payment is generally made in 12 monthly payments, but may be issued as a single payment.

For the 2020 benefit year, if you qualify for:

  • more than $360, you will have a choice between:
    • monthly payments starting July 2021
    • a single payment in June 2021
      • You get the same total amount regardless of which option you choose.
  • $360 or less, you will receive a single payment in July 2021
  • more than $2 but less than $10, it will be increased to $10
  • $2 or less, you will not receive a payment

More information on the OEPTC can be found here: Govt of Ontario Trillium Benefit.


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