So what is up with this money that Governments of Canada, Quebec, Ontario (or insert any other province here) send me every month or quarter or at the end of the year? Ever wonder? I kind of didn’t….even us accountants have the same saying as you normal humans: “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. I was more than happy to collect my cheques (now direct deposit) and when the payments increased after I had a kid, I was even more content to stay silent.
Recently though, I decided to take that aforementioned gift horse to the dentist and give him a good once over. I mean the thing rarely brushes its teeth and I was starting to suspect gingivitis. OK, with that metaphor now officially spent (and disgusting), after doing some quick pondering and research, here’s what I found:
A federal government program, it’s basically Canada’s way of returning some of the GST you spent on stuff throughout the year. It’s only paid to individuals and families who are below a certain level of income and starts to get reduced for every dollar you earn over about $35,000.
Solidarity Tax Credit (Quebec) & Trillium Tax Credit (Ontario) & Other Fun Names Given to the Same Credit in Other Provinces
Kind of the same concept as the federal credit only it’s given at the provincial level. Normally, this credit includes a property tax component, so you’ll get some cash back for the rent or property tax you paid during the year (again, the cash you get back gets reduced once you earn over a certain amount of income).
UCCB (WXYZ!) – Universal Child Care Benefit
This is an easy one – If you have kids under 6 years old, you get $100 per month per kid. That’s it that’s all. You have to use it on Dora the Explorer dolls and Thomas the Tank Engine (and friends) though, which is a definite downside to this particular credit.
CCTB – Canada Child Tax Benefit
Similar to the UCCB but not really at all. This one is like the other credits above and gets reduced as you earn more money. However, the limits are higher (I guess they assume that people with kids need to earn more money…you know, for things like food and cribs…and Dora).
Also included in this credit is the Child Disability Credit. If you’re in a situation where you just aren’t sure if your child’s disability qualifies for the credit (and potentially for other credits that may be available to you), please get in touch and we can help you get the information you need!!
Child Assistance Payment (Quebec)
Similar to the CCTB above but the Quebec version. This one also gets reduced as your family income increases, is normally paid quarterly, and like its Federal equivalent also includes a disability component.
In a kind-of-related issue, a surprising number of married couples ask me if they should file their taxes together and my answer is always the same: Heck yeah. Just think about it – whether or not you have children, your family income is the number that determines how much of the above-mentioned credits you’re going to receive. If you file separately, it’s very tough to get all those numbers straight. If you get them wrong and collect too much of the credits, chances are that at some point in the very near future, Canada or Quebec or Ontario or Nunavut are going to be asking for their money back. With interest. If you get the number wrong and don’t collect enough credits, they ain’t voluntarily throwing money at you. Or in other words, as my 23-month-old would say, “where money go?…money gone…”.
The Funny Accountant
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