If you have a relatively low income, you may qualify for certain benefits, credits or tax relief through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You may also qualify for credits through your province or territory.
The Working Income Tax Benefit
The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is designed to encourage low-income workers to stay in the work force. To claim the WITB, you must earn at least $3,000 from a job or business. Additionally, the amount of your credit varies depending on your income.
If you qualify, you can claim this refundable credit on your return. Otherwise, you can apply for advance payments and receive them throughout the year.
If the CRA has approved a disability certificate for you, you may claim the disability supplement as long as you have at least $1,500 in working income.
In 2019 the WITB will be replaced by the Canada Workers Benefit, a similar credit, but enhanced, and more accessible than the WITB.
The GST/HST Tax Credit
To help offset the sales tax you pay throughout the year, the CRA offers a GST/HST credit. This credit is paid to you quarterly and is reserved for low-income families.
You do not have to apply for this credit. Instead, when you file your income tax return, the CRA will automatically determine if you qualify.
Provincial and Territorial Credits
Along with federal credits, there are a range of territorial and provincial benefits and credits for low-income families. For example, in Alberta, working parents may receive the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit.
In other cases, there are even municipal credits that can help you with certain tax obligations. For example, if you live in Calgary and cannot afford to pay your property taxes, the City of Calgary Property Tax Assistance Program may help you pay your tax.
Finding Benefits and Credits
In most cases, you can apply for benefits and credits when you file your federal and provincial or territorial income tax returns. To ensure you don’t miss any benefits or credits, consider using tax preparation software.