The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay. It is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. Many provinces offer related GST/HST programs.
Application and Eligibility
As of 2014, you do not have to directly apply for the GST/HST credit. When you file your income tax return, the CRA will automatically determine your eligibility and advise you if you are eligible to receive the credit.
You are eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada in the month prior to and at the beginning of the month in which the GST/HST credit is issued. Additionally, at least one of the following must apply:
* You are 19 years of age or older before the month in which the CRA issues a quarterly payment;
* You have a spouse or common-law partner;
* You are a parent and live with your child.
If you will be turning the age of 19 during the year, you should file a tax return. This way, if you are entitled to receive the GST/HST credit, your first payment will be after the month of your 19th birthday. For example, if you turn 19 years of age in July, August or September 2016, you are eligible for the GST/HST credit starting in October 2016, as it is the first payment date after the month of your 19th birthday.
If you have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of you can receive the credit. The credit will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. The amount will be the same regardless of who receives it.
Calculation of the Credit
The CRA calculates your GST/HST credit based on the number of children that you have registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit or the GST/HST credit, as well as your net family income for the previous year. You can check how many eligible children are registered in the Benefits and Credits section of the CRA’s My Account online service.
For the 2015-2016 year, the basic GST/HST credit for an individual is $272. For families, the credit is $272 per spouse. An eligible child is credited an additional $143. The credit is reduced by a percentage for family incomes that start at $35,465 and is completely eliminated once your family income reaches $52,065.
Payment of the Credit
The GST/HST credit is paid quarterly in January, April, July and October of each year, usually on the fifth day of the month. You can see the date and amount of your next payment in the Benefits and Credits section of My Account. You can also use My Account to set up direct deposit for your GST/HST credit.
If your payment does not arrive on time, you should wait ten working days and then call the CRA.