What is the GST/HST credit?

Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit is a tax-free amount paid four times every year. It helps low- to modest-income individuals and families offset all or part of the GST or HST they pay.

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Who is eligible for the GST/HST credit?

To qualify for the GST/HST credit, you must be a Canadian resident for income tax purposes in the month prior and at the start of the month in which the CRA makes a payment.

You also need to meet one of the following criteria:

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

The credit is meant for Canadians with low to moderate incomes. Single individuals making $47,527 or more (before tax) are not entitled to the credit. A family of four cannot exceed an annual net income of $56,547. See the Government of Canada’s website to learn more about income levels.

How much can you get from the GST/HST credit?

The maximum you can receive from the GST/HST credit for the 2020 benefit year is:

  • $451 if you’re single
  • $592 if you’re married or have a common-law partner
  • $155 for each child under the age of 19

COVID-19: Additional GST/HST credit amount and extended benefit payments

As part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the federal government issued a special one-time payment through the GST/HST credit on April 9, 2020. The average additional benefit was approximately $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples. You should have automatically received this one-time payment if you normally get the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return.

The tax return deadline was also extended to June 1, 2020. As a result, Canadians currently receiving the GST/HST credit will continue to do so until the end of September 2020. The extended benefit payments are based on information from your 2018 tax return if your 2019 tax return hasn’t been assessed yet. Remember, you must file a 2019 tax return. If you don’t, the CRA will stop your payments in October 2020 and you may have to repay the estimated amounts that were sent at the beginning of July 2020.

Take a look at this article for more information about COVID-19 emergency benefits.

How is the GST/HST credit calculated?

GST/HST credit payments are calculated using your tax return from the previous year. For example, if you became eligible for the credit based on your 2019 tax return, you would have gotten your first payment in July 2020, the start of the 2020 payment period.

Your family net income and the number of children you have registered for the credit are used to determine the amount of your GST/HST credit payments. Check out the child and family benefits calculator to get an estimate of how much you could be entitled to. 

Sometimes, the CRA will recalculate your GST/HST credit payment.

Situations that may trigger a recalculation include:

  • your family’s net income changes due to a reassessment
  • your eligible child turns 19 years of age
  • your marital status changes
  • the number of eligible children in your care changes
  • a recipient dies
  • you start or stop sharing custody of a child

You should notify the CRA about certain life changes immediately (i.e. your child is born or your marital status has changed). Doing so will ensure you’re getting the right payment amounts.

When will I get my GST/HST credit?

The GST/HST credit is paid four times per year by cheque or direct deposit.

Payments are sent on the following dates:

  • July 3, 2020
  • October 5, 2020
  • January 5, 2021
  • April 1, 2021

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If your credit amount is less than $50 per quarter, you should have received the entire annual amount as a single payment on July 3, 2020.

How do provincial and territorial programs work with the GST/HST credit?

Some provinces and territories have programs related to the GST/HST credit. You don’t need to apply for these benefits because you’ll automatically get them if you’re eligible for the GST/HST credit. Provincial and territorial credit payments are included in your GST/HST credit payments. The only program that is issued separately is the Ontario sales tax credit.

Here’s how much you could get from each provincial and territorial program:

Program

Annual Maximum Amount

BC climate action tax credit

Individual: $174

Spouse or common-law partner: $174

Per child: $51 

($174 for the first child in a single-parent family)

New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit

Individual: $300

Spouse or common-law partner: $300

Per child: $100 

($300 for the first child in a single-parent family)

Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement

Individual: $450

Married or common-law couple: $510

Per child: $200

Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit

Single senior: $1,313

Married or common-law couple: $1,313

Northwest Territories cost of living offset

Individual: $156

Spouse or common-law partner: $156

Per child: $180

Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit

Individual: $255

Married or common-law couple: $255

Per child: $60

Ontario sales tax credit

$313 for each adult and each child in a family

Prince Edward Island sales tax credit

Individual: $110

Spouse, common-law partner or eligible dependant: $55

Saskatchewan low-income tax credit

Individual: $346

Spouse, common-law partner or eligible dependant: $346

Per child (maximum two children): $136

Family: $964

Yukon government carbon price rebate (individuals)

Individual: $192

Spouse or common-law partner: $192

Per child: $192

How do I apply for the GST/HST credit?

There is no formal application for the GST/HST credit. All you need to do is file your taxes every year (even if you have no income to report) and the CRA will automatically determine if you’re eligible or not. If you’re a new resident, you’ll need to apply for the credit by submitting Form RC66 if you have children or Form RC151 if you’re a single individual.