Gst/HST Credit: How it works

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The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It was designed to help offset the government sales tax and harmonized sales tax for low-income individuals and families. In addition, these payments may include additional provincial and territorial programs.

How does the GST/HST credit work?

Most purchases in Canada come with goods and services tax (GST) included. In some provinces, GST gets added to the provincial sales tax (PST) to become harmonized sales tax (HST). How much these taxes cost will depend on what province or territory you live in. but there’s no denying that these taxes can hurt the bottom line of many people.

To help put money back into the pockets of those with modest incomes, the government offers a GST/HST credit. This money is a direct deposit that goes right into your bank account so that you can use the funds right away.

As long as you file your tax return, you’re automatically considered for the GST/HST credit.

How much does the GST/HST credit pay?

The amount each recipient will get depends on a few factors:

  • Your family’s net income (your spouse’s or common-law partner’s income is combined)
  • The number of children you have registered for the Canada child benefit (CCB) and the GST/HST credit

Assuming you qualify for the 2021 base year (payment period of July 2022 to July 2023), you’d be eligible up to the following maximum amounts:

  • $461 for single individuals
  • $612 if you have a spouse or are a common-law couple
  • $161 for every child 18 years of age or under

What can affect your GST/HST credit amount

What some people may not realize is that HST credit payments could be recalculated under one of the following criteria:

  • A tax reassessment of your family’s net income
  • Your eligible child turns 19
  • The number of eligible children changes
  • A breakdown in your marital status changes
  • A recipient dies
  • You start, or stop, sharing custody of an eligible child

GST/HST eligibility

To be approved for the HST credit application, you must be a Canadian resident for income tax purposes the month before and at the beginning of the month in which the Canada Revenue Agency makes a payment.

In addition, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are at least 19 years old
  • You have (or had) a spouse or common-law partner
  • You are (or were) a parent and live (or lived) with your child

Since you must file your taxes to qualify for the tax credit, you also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Note that you don’t need to be a Canadian citizen to qualify for the GST/HST credit. You simply need to be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes.

Even if you have no income, you would still qualify for the GST/HST credit. You just need to file your taxes.

GST cheque dates

The GST/HST credit payment dates are as follows:

  • January 5
  • April 5
  • July 5
  • October 5

Due to inflation in 2022, the CRA issues a one-time additional GST credit payment to qualifying individuals and families. This additional credit would have been paid between November 4, 2022 and January 5, 2023. 

If you’ve set up direct deposit, the money will appear in your account almost immediately. However, if you’ve requested a cheque, it could take up to a few weeks before it’s delivered to you.

How to apply for the GST/HST credit

Canadian residents that have filed an annual tax return will automatically be considered for the GST/HST credit. If you qualify for the credit, the money will be sent quarterly.

New residents of Canada may also qualify for the GST/HST credit, but they will need to fill out a form first.

  • RC66 (Canada Child Benefits Application) is for those who have Children
  • RC151 (GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada) would be used for those who do not have children.

If you’ve already applied for and received the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), then you could claim their GST/HST credit at the same time. 

For those who haven’t applied for the CCB yet, you could do so via your CRA My Account. Just look for the section that says “apply for child benefits.”

Additional provincial and territorial programs

Depending on the province or territory you live in, you may qualify for additional programs if you’re eligible for the GST/HST credit. The extra programs that you may qualify for include:

  • British Columbia climate action tax credit
  • New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit
  • Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement
  • Newfoundland and Labrador seniors’ benefit
  • Northwest Territories cost of living offset
  • Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit
  • Prince Edward Island sales tax credit
  • Saskatchewan low-income tax credit
  • Yukon government caron price rebate

There’s also the Ontario sales tax credit, but that’s issued separately from the GST/HST credit.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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