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Quebec economic update: Surplus turns into surprises for families


It looks like the holidays are arriving early for Quebec families this year! On November 7, 2019, the provincial government announced that it would take its budget surplus and give back to its residents. What exactly will it be giving back? Well Quebecers, brace yourselves. The government promised to hand over a minimum of $3.3 billion over the next five years. If you’re a resident, that means some serious cha-ching is coming your way.

Who receives what, how much and when? We’re here to help you understand the new changes, and what they mean for your taxes.

Goodbye, costly childcare.

The Quebec government announced its decision to reintroduce an oldie but a goodie. As was already in place pre-2015, the government will be returning to a single reduced rate for subsidized childcare services starting this year for 2019 tax returns. On average, this means that 140,000 families will save an average of $1,100 each year. But that’s not all! This reduction will also be applied retroactively back to the beginning of 2019. More money back on your tax return means more money back in your pocket.

The equal treatment.

Rather than coming into effect in 2022, the government has hit fast forward on the Family Allowance enhancement. Beginning in the new year, nearly 679,000 families will receive on average an additional $779 per year. As a reminder, the minimum amount per child currently sits at $1,000. That means the Family Allowance paid to parents will increase to a maximum of $2,515 per child, up from $1,735.

The good news doesn’t stop there. Whereas Family Allowance benefits used to be calculated according to the rank of each child (first born, second born, etc.), benefits will now be equal between all children in the same family. No more having to play favourites.

Taking care of disabled children.

Announced earlier this year, a second tier of assistance will be added to the supplement for disabled children requiring exceptional care. How much more help? Well, the additional support will result in a monthly payment of $652 for those who didn’t qualify before, and $978 for the more severely disabled children who qualify under the first tier. This will be paid separately from the tax return though, so don’t expect to receive this altogether.

Changes to the solidarity tax credit.

If you’re a low or middle-income family, then pay close attention. Whereas the government previously required taxpayers to file a tax return to receive the solidarity tax credit, that rule has now been waived for social assistance recipients in December 2018 who did not file their 2018 tax return. Good news, right?

There is a but though. Each adult will now only receive the basic amount of $292 for the period from July 2019 to June 2020, paid at the end of this period. While the solidarity credit bit is waived, there’s some other supplementary amounts that you’ll only be eligible for only if you file a tax return. These include:

• The $139 additional amount for a person living alone;
• The $567 housing component; or
• The $1,719 component for individuals living in northern villages.

We’re here to help navigate what this means for you and your family. If you have questions on what you’ll be able to get back this tax season, visit an H&R Block office near you to speak to one of our tax experts.