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GST/HST Credit: Who Is Eligible and How Much Is It?

GST/HST Credit: Who Is Eligible and How Much Is It?

Included in the price of most of the goods and services you buy in Canada is a 5% goods and services tax, or GST. Over the year, the amount you pay in GST can add up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars. The good news is that eligible Canadians may receive an offset of the GST, known as a GST/HST credit.

In this article, I’ll explain how the GST/HST credit works, who is eligible, and when you can get paid.

GST vs. HST: What’s the Difference?

Launched in 1991, the goods and services tax (GST) is a federal sales tax applied to most goods and services sold in Canada. In the years since the GST was introduced, many Canadian provinces have combined the GST with the provincial sales tax. The combined tax is known as the harmonized sales tax. For example, Ontario has an HST of 13%. On the other hand, the province of Manitoba has a 7% provincial sales tax, while the 5% GST is collected separately.

The HST was designed to streamline the collection of federal and provincial sales taxes.

What Is the GST/HST Credit?

The GST/HST credit is a quarterly tax-free payment to individuals and families living on a low to modest income. The purpose of the credit is to subsidize the GST or HST they pay during the year.

Who Is Eligible to Receive the GST/HST Credit?

To be eligible to receive a GST/HST credit, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes at the beginning of the month that the GST credit will be paid.

You must also meet one of the following criteria in the month before the CRA makes a quarterly payment:

  • 19 years of age or older
  • Have or had a spouse or common-law partner
  • Are (or were) a parent and live (or lived) with your child

Other eligibility criteria:

  • To receive a GST/HST credit, you must file a 2021 income tax return
  • You must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are new to Canada, you may be able to qualify for the GST/HST credit. Here is how to apply:

If You Have Children:

  • Fill out and submit Form RC66 to apply for all child and family benefits
  • Complete form RC66SCH to capture your citizenship and residency information, and provide a Statement of Income.

If You Don’t Have Children:

  • Fill out and submit Form RC151 for the year that you became a resident of Canada.

How Much Is the GST/HST Credit?

Here are the maximum (annual) GST/HST Credit payment amounts for the 2021 tax year (quarterly payments made between July 2022 and April 2023). You could receive up to:

  • $467 if you are single
  • $612 if you are married or have a common-law partner
  • $161 for each child under 19 years of age

The GST/HST credit is an income-tested benefit. The amount you receive will depend on your previous year’s income, so you must file an income tax return to be eligible for a GST payment. If the government can’t determine whether you qualify, they can’t issue you a payment.

Related Provincial and Territorial Programs

The Government of Canada administers certain provincial and territorial benefits on behalf of several provinces and territories. Because these benefits are related to the GST/HST, they will be combined with your GST/HST quarterly payment. You do not have to apply for these benefits separately; the government will automatically calculate them for you. Here is a list of provincial and territorial programs that are included:

  • BC Climate Action Tax Credit
  • New Brunswick HST credit
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Income Supplement
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors’ benefit
  • Northwest Territories Cost of Living Offset
  • Nova Scotia Affordable Living Tax Credit
  • Ontario Sales Tax Credit
  • Prince Edward Island Sales Tax Credit
  • Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit
  • Yukon Government Carbon Price Rebate – Individuals

Additional One-Time GST Credit Payment

On November 4, 2022, the Government of Canada began issuing one-time GST payments to assist Canadians most impacted by high inflation. More than 11 million Canadian individuals and families could receive the one-time payment.

Eligibility: You are eligible to receive the payment if you were entitled to receive the GST credit in October 2022. If you did not receive the one-time payment, it’s advised that you contact the CRA at 1-800-387-1193.

GST/HST Quarterly Payment Dates

The GST/HST credit is paid four times per year via a cheque in the mail or direct deposit if you are enrolled. Here are the GST payment dates for 2022/2023:

July 5, 2022

October 5, 2022

January 5, 2023

April 5, 2023

Note that the 2023/2024 GST payment dates have not yet been announced, but they are usually sent on July 5, October, January, and April.

GST Overpayments

Because the GST/HST credit is an income-tested benefit, a change to your income could result in a GST overpayment. If that happens, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will recalculate your credit depending on the timing of the change. If it’s determined that you’ve been overpaid, you will be required to repay the amount to the CRA. The CRA will hold onto any future GST/HST credits or tax refunds until the overpayment is received.

Final Thoughts

If you think you may be eligible for the GST/HST credit, but have not received any GST payments, don’t delay. Use the information in this article to find out if you qualify, and contact the CRA to determine how you can begin receiving quarterly GST payments.

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