Why file your taxes?

How filing your taxes can help you access government benefits

Tax season is around the corner, which means it’s a great time to brush up on your financial literacy skills and take advantage of government benefits. The Canadian government has set up benefits to help Canadian families increase their income each year. By filing your taxes on time, you can automatically receive government benefits you qualify for, thus increasing your income. Increasing income even just by a few hundred dollars a year can help a lot of families.

Here are the top 5 government benefits you can access from filing your taxes on time:

  1. GST (Goods and Services Tax) / HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) credit. The GST/HST tax credits are offered to people over the age of 18 with low to modest incomes to offset sales tax expenses. The total amount is calculated based on your family’s income, the number of children living with you, the age of your children and your marital status. It is issued every three months, making it a potential steady stream of income for many families.
  1. Canada Child Benefit. The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. This benefit may also include the child disability benefit and any related provincial and territorial programs. The total amount is calculated based on your family’s income, the number of children that live with you, the age of the children, and your marital status. 
  1. Canada Workers Benefit (formerly Working Income Tax Benefit). The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit that is intended to supplement the earnings of low-income workers and improves work incentives for low-income Canadians. It is issued every three months to those over the age of 19 who are employed. The amount you will receive is calculated based on your family’s income from work, the number of children that live with you, the age of the children, your marital status, and the province or territory you live in. 
  1. Old Age Security Pension. The Old Age Security Pension is the Government of Canada’s largest pension program. It is funded out of the general tax revenues of the Government of Canada. This means that you do not pay into it directly. This pension is a monthly payment available to seniors aged 65 and older. The amount you get is based on how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18, and your income. You may need to apply in order to receive this benefit.
  1. Guaranteed Income Supplement. The Guaranteed Income Supplement provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to low-income individuals over age 65 who are already receiving Old Age Security. You must be living in Canada to receive this. The benefit is paid out monthly and the amount is calculated based on your income and marital status.

These are just a few benefits that the Canadian government offers. Depending on where you live, you might also be able to get benefits from your province or territory’s government as well.

If you don’t have an income, you can still file your taxes to receive money through government benefits. If you are a two-parent family, both parents need to file taxes to get government benefits.

It’s important to file your taxes on time in order to receive these benefits. The deadline to file your taxes is April 30, 2020.

For more financial literacy advice like this, visit abcmoneymatters.ca/learners. Money Matters is a free financial literacy program for adults across Canada. Want to host a Money Matters workshop? Find out how.