My income didn’t change but my benefits did – what gives? Answering your Q’s about recalculating your benefits.
June 2, 2022
When we hit new life milestones, such as getting married, having a baby or retiring, our lives change dramatically! But one thing we don’t usually think about is how those life changes can impact our tax situation. When you have a child, you’re eligible for the Canada Child Benefit. When you get married, the way in which you file your taxes changes, and some benefits go from being individually calculated to a spouse or family calculation. It’s not always obvious the ways in which benefits change until we actually see – or don’t see – these payments hit our bank account. So, we’re here to clarify the questions you might be asking about your benefits.
Payment periods begin on July 1 and end June 30 of the next year.
You might be surprised when in mid-summer your payments change. That’s because the benefit period is July to June of the following year. So, even though you might be aware that changes are coming based on your tax return or your Notice of Assessment, you’ll experience it come July.
Why would my benefits or amounts change?
After you file your tax return for the previous year, the CRA calculates your eligibility for the next benefit period. It’s extremely important to file your taxes annually to ensure you don’t see any disruptions in benefits and credits you’re eligible for, as most are tied to your current tax return.
If your situation changes (job, income, marital status, children, residency or citizenship, to name a few), often times there will be changes to your benefit amounts. There are several reasons why they might change, and here are some of the biggest reasons:
Canada Child Benefit:
- If you had another child, your amount might go up. If your child ages out of the benefit, it might go down. If you have a child whose eligibility has changed for the disability tax credit, that will also affect your amount. If you got married or are newly considered common law, your amounts will change. If you went through a divorce or separation with your partner and split childcare relatively evenly, then you’ll receive half of this benefit, and your ex will receive the other half.
- A word of warning: if you and/or your spouse or common law partner don’t file your taxes on time every year, your payments will stop, so filing is your best way to avoid disruptions.
- There are provincial child benefits, so be aware of those!
- You should know that the CRA expects you to let them know about changes to your marital status and number of children in your care immediately, because your benefits will be adjusted the following month, not the following benefit period like some others!
- You will receive GST/HST credits based on all eligible people in your household, including children. If you have more children, your amount will increase, but if your child turns 19, your amount will decrease, and it will be paid to them when they file their tax return (assuming eligibility).
- Also, this credit is for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, so once you meet a threshold of net income, you will no longer receive this credit. The CRA has a nifty calculator to help you determine if you’ll receive this benefit or not.
There are provincial sales tax credits for low-income individuals and seniors as well, so keep an eye out for any changes to your eligibility.
When are benefit payments made?
Now that you know if you’re eligible for these benefits and credits, you definitely want to know when to expect your payments. Here’s a neat list of the payment schedule to help you keep track of when money will be flowing in.
Canada Child Benefit in 2022:
- January 20
- February 18
- March 18
- April 20
- May 20
- June 20
- July 20
- August 19
- September 20
- October 20
- November 18
- December 13
GST/HST credit in 2022:
- January 5
- April 5
- July 5
- If your total GST/HST credit amount is $50 or less for the year, you’ll receive the entire payment in July instead of quarterly.
- October 5
Climate action Incentive Payment for 2022 (for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario residents only):
- July 15 (will also include retroactive amounts for April)
- October 14
- In future years for as long as this credit remains, there will be 4 payments annually (in January and April, to be exact).
If you’re certain you should be receiving benefit payments but haven’t seen them on time according to this schedule, wait 5-10 business days and then contact the CRA.
If you’re confused by your benefit recalculation or not sure about eligibility, an H&R Block Tax Expert is here to help! Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.