What Is the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit?
The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) is a personal tax credit that was implemented to help low-to-moderate income individuals with property taxes and the sales tax on energy. This credit has two components: an energy component and a property tax component. People can apply for the credit if eligible for either component.
The credits are funded by the Province of Ontario and are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. The Ontario energy and property tax credit combines with the Northern Ontario energy credit and Ontario sales tax credit into a single benefit called the Ontario Trillium Benefit.
Qualifying for the Tax Credit
The credit becomes available for the following year if (as of Dec. 31 of the current year) you live in Ontario and either:
- you rent or the property tax for your principal residence is paid by or for you for the current year,
- you live in a student residence,
- you live in a long-term care home, or
- you live on a reserve and home energy costs are paid by or for you for your principal residence on the reserve for the current year, and
- at the beginning of the payment month, you are a resident of Ontario and18 years of age or older, or have previously had a spouse or common-law partner or are a parent who lives or previously lived with your child.
The credit amount is based on how much rent or property tax you paid for your principal residence in Ontario for the year and the amount of energy costs paid for your principal residence on a reserve in Ontario, or the amount of your accommodation costs paid for living in a public long-term care home in Ontario.
The size of the credit depends on your family income. You may still qualify for this payment even if you do not owe income tax. As your family income increases, so does the amount of the benefit.
Applying for and Receiving the Credit
On your personal tax return, you must complete the ON-BEN Application for the Ontario Trillium Benefit. The credit is calculated for your eligibility depending on your family income. CRA My Account holders can view payment dates and amounts using the “Benefits and Credits” tab of the online portal.
If the amount of your credit is $360 or more, you have the option to receive either a) monthly payments or b) a single lump-sum payment. Your choice is important as the timing of the payments varies greatly. For example:
- If your 2015 tax return yields a $600 OTB credit and you choose the monthly payment option, you will receive twelve $50 payments beginning in July 2016.
- If you choose the single payment option, the entire $600 will be issued to you in June of 2017.
If the entitled benefit amount is below $360, you would receive a single payment for the entire amount in July 2016.
If you were married or living in a common-law relationship at the end of the year, then the same spouse or partner has to apply for the credit for both of you. If only one spouse or partner is 64 years of age or older at the end of the tax year, that spouse or partner has to apply for these credits for both of you.
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