The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) Credit is a tax-free quarterly payment made by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to help individuals and families offset some of the GST or HST that they pay. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the GST/HST credit, including key aspects such as eligibility criteria, payment schedule, how to apply, impact on individuals, benefits, and recent changes for 2024.
To be eligible for the GST/HST credit, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be 19 years of age or older as of December 31, 2023. If you are under 19, you can still qualify if you have (or had) a spouse or common-law partner, or if you are (or were) a parent who resides with your child.
- Be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes.
- Have a family net income below the thresholds for your family situation (details below).
Your eligibility is determined based on your previous year's tax return. So your 2023 tax return determines your eligibility for GST/HST credit payments in 2024.
The income thresholds for the 2023 tax year are:
- $49,790 for single individuals
- $55,055 for couples/common-law partners
- Add $3,403 for each child under 19 years old
So a family with 2 children would have an income threshold of $61,861 to qualify for GST/HST payments in 2024.
The CRA pays the GST/HST credit four times a year. The payment dates for 2024 are:
- January 5, 2024
- April 5, 2024
- July 5, 2024
- October 4, 2024
You can expect to receive your payment within 10 business days of the scheduled date. The amount you receive depends on your family net income and family composition.
Most recipients receive payments via direct deposit, while some still get paper cheques in the mail. Make sure your banking information is up to date with the CRA to get your payments on time.
How to Apply
Applying for the GST/HST credit is easy. You just need to file your annual tax return and the CRA will automatically determine your eligibility and issue payments.
As a new resident to Canada, you'll need to fill out Form RC151, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada. The CRA will then assess your application and enroll you for payments if approved.
If you have children, make sure to register them as dependents on your tax return so they are accounted for in determining your payment amounts. Notify the CRA if you have any major life changes such as a marriage, new child, or separation so your benefits are adjusted accordingly.
Impact on Individuals
The GST/HST credit provides substantial financial relief for lower income Canadians. Here's how it impacts individuals:
- Single adults can receive up to $443 in total credits for 2024.
- Couples can receive up to $764 in total credits for 2024.
- Families can receive an additional $165 per child under 19 years old.
So a single parent with two children could receive up to $1,094 in GST/HST payments in 2024. That can cover a significant portion of sales taxes paid.
These payments help cover the cost of basic necessities like groceries and household items. Every little bit counts when trying to make ends meet on a limited income.
Here are some of the main benefits of the GST/HST credit:
Tax-Free - The credits you receive do not get taxed or affect your income taxes. So you get to keep every dollar.
Automatic - By filing your taxes annually, you get enrolled automatically without needing to apply separately.
Income Tested - Only lower income households qualify, targeting those who need it most.
Quarterly Payments - Getting credits four times a year helps smooth your cashflow and budgeting.
Direct Deposit - Fast, convenient access to your benefits directly in your bank account.
Recent Changes for 2024
Here are some notable changes to the GST/HST credit for the 2024 tax year:
Increased Income Thresholds - The income levels to qualify have been raised across all family types. This expansion lets more households access the credit.
One-Time Grocery Rebate - A special doubled GST payment was issued in January 2023 to help with rising food costs. A similar rebate is anticipated in January 2024.
Children's Fitness Amount - The annual refundable tax credit for children's fitness is now incorporated into the GST credit.
Climate Action Incentive - This additional credit for residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario has been indexed to inflation for 2024.
Provincial Credits - Some provinces like Ontario and British Columbia also offer provincial sales tax credits that piggyback on the federal GST program.
So in summary, the GST/HST credit will provide even more financial assistance to Canadian households in 2024 thanks to inflation adjustments and expanded eligibility. Check your eligibility and payment dates to make the most of this essential tax credit. Reach out to the CRA if you have any questions.