Have you started receiving Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments? If so, you may be wondering how this benefit will affect you during tax season and what you need to know before you file.
We’re here to explain how the GIS works and why you should keep it in mind when filing your tax return this year.
- The GIS is a non-taxable payment that supplements the OAS pension amount and should be reported on your tax return.
- Alongside living in Canada and qualifying for the OAS amount, the GIS also requires your annual household income to be below a specific threshold.
- Information about your GIS amounts can usually be found on box 21 of your T4 (OAS) slip.
What is the GIS and how much can I receive from it?
The GIS is a monthly payment that you can receive alongside your Old Age Security (OAS) amount. Like the OAS amount, the GIS provides you with additional income each month.
To be eligible, you and your spouse’s combined yearly income must be below a certain amount—an amount determined by the Canadian government each year. According to the listed GIS amounts for 2022, single, divorced, or widowed pensioners can receive up to $959.26 each month if their annual income falls below $19,464.
If you have a spouse or a common-law partner, the monthly payment and income amounts will vary based on a few factors, such as whether they receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement Allowance benefit.
The GIS Allowance is a non-taxable payment you may be eligible for if you are 60 to 64 years old, live in Canada, have a spouse or common-law partner who is eligible for the GIS, and you and your spouse have a combined yearly income below $36,048.
You and your spouse/partner’s combined annual income is less than:
The maximum amount you can get for a monthly GIS payment is:
Your spouse or partner receives the full OAS pension amount.
Your spouse or partner receives the Allowance
Your spouse or partner does not receive an OAS pension
Essentially, the government considers both you and your spouse or common-law partner’s income when it calculates how much you can get each month. This also means if one of you doesn’t qualify for the OAS and GIS at all, the other will receive a larger monthly amount to make up for it.
It’s important to contact Service Canada if one of the following situations occurs, since it may change your GIS amount:
- Your annual income, or that of your spouse, or common-law partner, is lower because of retirement or a reduction in pension income;
- 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.
You can read more about eligibility here.
How often and when do I receive my GIS payments?
Once you are qualified, you may be wondering when your GIS payments will start coming in.
Your GIS payments will be sent to you each month, and will follow a schedule set up by the government. This schedule is updated every year. For 2022, you can expect to get your GIS payments on these dates:
- January 27, 2022
- February 24, 2022
- March 29, 2022
- April 27, 2022
- May 27, 2022
- June 28, 2022
- July 27, 2022
- August 29, 2022
- September 27, 2022
- October 27, 2022
- November 28, 2022
- December 21, 2022
Note that your GIS amount is sent to you at the same time as the OAS pension amount if you qualify for it. This usually means you’ll receive one payment that combines both amounts. If you receive GIS Allowance amounts, this will also be included.
Keep in mind that you can only expect to get your payments according to this schedule if you’ve filed your taxes and paid your balances on time. If you’ve missed your due dates, it may lead to problems with receiving your monthly GIS payments, so make sure that you’re following the deadlines to avoid this.
How do I qualify for the GIS?
Wondering if you qualify for the GIS? There are a few requirements you’ll need to meet.
- You need to be receiving the OAS amount.
- You must live in Canada for at least 6 months every year.
- You must be over 65 years old and have an annual income below $19,464.
If you’re a sponsored immigrant who has lived in Canada for less than 10 years after turning 18, you can’t receive the GIS unless you meet specific circumstances. However, if you’re an immigrant who isn’t sponsored, you can qualify for the GIS as long as you’re receiving the OAS as well.
To be sure of your eligibility for the GIS, it’s always best to consult a CRA representative who can judge your specific situation and guide you.
How do I apply for the GIS?
Did you know that if you’re already getting your OAS amount, you don’t need to apply for the GIS?
Usually, before you turn 65, you’ll receive a letter from the Government of Canada that lets you know when you can start receiving payments.
However, you may still need to apply for the GIS yourself if you’ve never received it with your OAS payment amounts, or if the government doesn’t have enough information on your income and asks you to provide it.
You can apply for the GIS either through Service Canada or by sending in a paper application, which can be found here.
When do I get my first GIS payment?
You’ll start to receive your GIS payments the month after your turn 65. The specific dates will be set by the government in the payment schedule we mentioned earlier.
If the date passes and you still don’t receive your payment, follow up with the government to identify the reason why.
Also note that if you’ve chosen to defer your OAS payments up until the age of 70, you will not receive your GIS payments until you start receiving your OAS amounts.
Do I need to pay taxes on the GIS?
No, the GIS is non-taxable, which means that it won’t be considered as part of your taxable income when you file your taxes.
That being said, you should still report your GIS earnings when filing your return, because it’s used to determine if you’re eligible for other government benefits as well.
How to report the GIS on your taxes
Now that you know it’s important to report your GIS earnings, it’s time to find out how.
Information about your GIS amounts can usually be found on box 21 of your T4 (OAS) slip. You should report this alongside your OAS amounts when filing your return.
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