Why file your taxes?

How filing your taxes can help you access government benefits

Tax season is approaching, meaning 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 families increase their yearly income. By filing your taxes on time, you can receive government benefits you qualify for, thus increasing your income. Increasing income, even just a few hundred dollars a year, can help many families.

Below, we outline the six most popular government benefits. Access them automatically by filing your taxes on time or completing a benefits application.

  1. GST (Goods and Services Tax) / HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) credit. The GST/HST tax credits are offered to people over 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. The GST credit is issued every three months, making it a potential steady income stream for many families.
  2. Canada Child Benefit (CCB). 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 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.

  3. Canada Workers Benefit (formerly Working Income Tax Benefit). The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit intended to supplement low-income workers’ earnings and improve work incentives for low-income Canadians. This benefit is issued every three months to those over 19 who are employed. The amount you’ll 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.

  4. Old Age Security Pension. The Old Age Security Pension is Canada’s government’s largest pension program. The Canadian government funds it directly from general tax revenues, so you don’t contribute directly. This pension is a monthly payment available to seniors aged 65 and older. Your received amount depends on your duration of residence in Canada after turning 18 and your income. You may need to apply to receive this benefit.
  5. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The Guaranteed Income Supplement provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to low-income individuals over age 65 already receiving Old Age Security. You must be living in Canada to receive this monthly benefit. The amount is calculated based on your income and marital status.
  6. Canada Dental Benefit. The temporary Canada Dental Benefit assists eligible families that earn less than $90,000 annually and pay for dental care for a child under 12 years old.

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.

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 must file taxes to get government benefits.

It’s important to file your taxes on time to receive these benefits. The deadline to file your taxes is April 30 each year.

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