What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement?
The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a monthly non-taxable government benefit paid to low-income seniors who are already eligible for Old Age Security benefits. The GIS is updated on a quarterly basis, based on changes to the Consumer Price Index. Use this link to contact CRA regarding Old Age security questions.
Eligibility for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
To be eligible for the GIS, you must be a legal resident of Canada and receiving your OAS pension. Additionally, your annual income, or the combined income between you and your spouse or common-law partner, must fall below the maximum annual income. You are eligible to start receiving the GIS as early as age 65.
It’s important to submit your income tax return annually since the amount of income that you supply on your return helps the Canada Revenue Agency determine your eligibility for the GIS. If you qualify, you will continue to receive the GIS.
Each year in July, you should receive a letter stating that your GIS has been renewed, your GIS has stopped, or that you need to provide your income information by filing your income tax return.
Determining Your Eligible GIS Amount
The amount of your GIS depends heavily on your marital status and your total income in the previous tax year, or the combined total income of you and your spouse or common-law partner. To determine how much you are eligible for, please visit the CRA link.
It’s important to contact Service Canada if one of the following situations occurs, since it may change the amount of your GIS:
- The annual income of you, your spouse, or common-law partner is lower because of retirement or income from the pension;
- Your spouse or common-law partner is confined to jail;
- You get married or separated, or your spouse or common-law partner passes away;
- You and your spouse or common-law partner are recipients of OAS pension and you are both living separately for reasons outside your control, such as a hospital stay or residency in a nursing home.
Applying for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
You must apply for the GIS when you submit your application for OAS benefits. If you are already a recipient of OAS benefits, you can apply to start receiving the GIS by filing the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Statement of Income, ISP3025 tax form.
Reporting the GIS on Your Tax Return
Even though the GIS is a non-taxable benefit, it’s important to report the GIS on your income tax return. Ensure that you report the amount of your GIS in box 21 of your T4A(OAS) tax slip. Note that your GIS amount is included as part of your total income on your return to determine eligibility for other federal and provincial benefits. However, it is then deducted to avoid it being included as part of your net income or taxable income.
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