Take Advantage of Ontario's Tax Credits and Benefits
Ontarians may miss out on tax credits and benefits if they do not file a tax return. Even if you received social assistance or did not earn any income in 2014, you could get money back. To be eligible for these credits and benefits, you must file a tax return each year and complete forms ON-BEN and ON479.
To get a copy of the 2014 Ontario General Income Tax and Benefit Package, or get more information about filing your tax return or applying for credits and benefits, please visit cra-arc.gc.ca.
You can see how much money you or your family may get back by using Ontario's tax credit calculator at ontario.ca/taxcredits.
Support for Families with Children
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) enhances the incomes of low- to moderate-income families with children under the age of 18. It helps parents, who may or may not be employed, with the cost of raising their children. If eligible, this benefit helps by providing up to $1,336 a year for each child in a family as of July 2015.
To receive the OCB, make sure you and your spouse or common-law partner file your income tax return, whether you have income to report or not, and refer to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for details on applying for child benefits.
By doing this you can get the OCB plus the Canada Child Tax Benefit and Universal Child Care Benefit, which could be more than $6,000 per child per year.
The Ontario Children's Activity Tax Credit helps parents with the cost of registering their children in activities that promote health, creativity and an active lifestyle. If you have a child enrolled in activities like painting classes, hockey, soccer and music lessons, you can claim up to $541 in eligible expenses and get up to $54.10 back a year per child under 16 years of age or up to $108.20 for a child with a disability under the age of 18.
Support for Low- to Moderate-Income Individuals and Families
The Ontario Trillium Benefit provides people with sales tax and property tax relief and helps people living in the North with their higher energy costs. To receive this benefit Ontarians need to be eligible for at least one of these three tax credits:
- Ontario Sales Tax Credit - up to $23.92 a month for an individual and for each family member
- Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit - up to $82.75 a month for a non-senior or $94.25 a month for a senior
- Northern Ontario Energy Credit - up to $11.92 a month for a single person or $18.42 a month for a family living in the North to help with higher energy costs
Support for Seniors
The Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant supports seniors by helping with the cost of their property taxes. If you are 64 or older on December 31, 2014 and own a home, you could get up to $500 a year to help with the cost of property taxes.
Seniors 65 years or older, and family members who live with them, may be eligible for a tax credit to help with the cost of making their home safer and more accessible. If you qualify, you can claim up to $10,000 worth of eligible home improvements on your tax return. The amount of money you get back for these expenses is calculated as 15 per cent of the eligible expenses you claim. For example, if you spend and then claim $10,000 worth of eligible expenses, you could get $1,500 back.
The Government of Ontario provides the GAINS benefit to Ontarians who are 65 or over, receive the federal Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and have limited or no sources of other income. The GAINS program helps to ensure a guaranteed minimum income by providing monthly payments to seniors. If you qualify, you could get up to $83 per month to ensure your income is at least the guaranteed minimum amount.
You do not have to submit a separate application for the GAINS program. However, to receive the benefit, you must first receive the OAS and GIS, and you must file a tax return each year.