Many Canadians who pay GST/HST are eligible for the GST/HST credit in 2021. The GST/HST credit is a tax-free payment that is paid out on a quarterly basis.
There isn't really anything you need to do to apply for the credit. In fact, you've likely received your cheques in the mail, deposited them and went about your day.
However, if you're looking for more information on the GST/HST credit, including how much you qualify for, when you should expect to receive your money, or even the determining factors as to whether or not you will receive the credit, you've come across the perfect article.
GST/HST payment dates for 2021
The CRA has stated it will pay out GST/HST credits for 2021 on the following dates:
- January 5th 2021
- April 1st 2021
- July 5th 2021
- October 5th 2021
Keep in mind, you can also view your GST/HST payment dates and amounts in your CRA account or by using the MyBenefits CRA mobile app.
How much GST/HST credit will you get in 2021?
Your GST/HST credit amount is based on a multitude of factors. The easiest way to find out how much you'll be paid, is to go to the CRA's website and use this calculator.
It's important to understand that the amount of credit you will receive is dependent on whether or not you are single, married or common-law, and whether or not you have children under the age of 19 years old that will benefit from the GST/HST credit.
The maximum credit you can expect to receive per year is as follows:
- $451 if you are single
- $592 if you are married or common-law
- $155 for each child under the age of 19
The government takes either your net income into consideration or the combined net income of you and your spouse to determine your overall credit.
Keep in mind that the government doesn't place any emphasis on activities such as buying stocks in a TFSA as income.
It's also important to note that there are a number of factors that can change the amount of credit you receive, including a reassessment of your tax return, a divorce, a child turning 19 years of age or a death.
Overall though, if your 2020 family net income is below $38,892 after including all your emergency and recovery benefits, you'll receive the maximum GST refunds as listed above.
Are you eligible for a GST/HST Credit?
You need to be a Canadian resident with a valid social insurance number to be considered for the credit.
After that, the government will use your previous years tax return to judge whether or not you're eligible.
For example, payments made at the start of a calendar year are likely to use the previous years tax return as an eligibility requirement. Then, as you file taxes in the current year, that filing will be used to determine eligibility.
Unlike the tax free savings account in which you gain your contribution room regardless of income taxes filed, the GST/HST credit requires you to file a tax return in order to qualify.
What this means, is even if you have no income for a current year, still file your taxes so you are eligible for the GST/HST credit.
How to apply for the GST/HST credit
As mentioned at the start of the article, the Canada Revenue Agency automatically determines your eligibility when it comes to the GST/HST tax credit.
So, there is no need to apply. All you need to do is keep up with your current tax returns.
What happens if they paid me too much?
If you ended up receiving too much, or perhaps a recalculation by the government causes your qualification amount to be reduced, you may end up owing the government a partial, or potentially even all of your GST/HST credit.
If you're still receiving credits and were perhaps just paid too much, the CRA states that they will keep all further credit payments until the balance is repaid.
If you are no longer eligible to receive the GST/HST credit and you owe money for an overpayment or wrong payment, you will either need to pay the Canada Revenue Agency back, or they will simply deduct it off your tax balances or amounts owing.
Other supplemental programs to the GST/HST credit
If you've noticed your GST/HST tax credit is higher than what you should be allotted, you may not have actually been over paid.
In fact, you may have qualified for another one of these provincial benefits, of which are paid out in combination with your GST/HST credit payments:
- Saskatchewan low-income tax credit
- Ontario sales tax credit
- Newfoundland and Labrador senior's benefit
- Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement
- New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit
- BC climate action tax credit
- Prince Edward Island sales tax credit
- Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit
What about provinces that don't have HST?
The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) actually used to be called the blended sales tax, but was put into place in the mid 1990's by 3 of the 4 Atlantic provinces.
It was done so in an effort to combine a provincial sales tax with the Federal governments Goods and Services Tax (GST). Many more would adopt this combined tax rate, and as a result the sales tax rates can vary significantly country to country.
Lets first have a look at provinces that don't have a Harmonized Sales Tax, and only charge the 5% GST:
- The Northwest Territories
Then, we can look at those provinces that charge a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) separately:
- Manitoba - 7% PST, 5% GST, 12% total tax
- Quebec - 9.975% PST, 5% GST, 14.975% total tax
- British Columbia - 7% PST, 5% GST, 12% total tax
- Saskatchewan - 6% PST, 5% GST, 12% total tax
And finally, lets take a look at those that combine both their Provincial Sales Tax and the Goods and Services tax to get a Harmonized Sales Tax:
- Prince Edward Island - 15%
- Nova Scotia - 15%
- Newfoundland and Labrador - 15%
- New Brunswick - 15%
- Ontario - 13%
Will my emergency GST/HST credit end?
Unfortunately, yes. Last year due to the circumstances of COVID-19, the CRA issued an emergency GST refund that matched your 2019-2020 GST/HST credit.
So, this meant a single person got up to $886, a married couple got up to $1,160 and a family of three got up to $1,740 in GST.
It doesn't look like this emergency benefit will be extended into 2021, but we will have to keep an eye on it.
Can I still get old GST/HST credit payments?
Absolutely. If you haven't filed prior returns, it's best to get them done. A family of three could get over $3,000 and a single person $1800 in retroactive GST/HST credits from the past three years!