On Ontario Tax Credits – We’d like to clear up the confusion

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Canadian MoneyTHUNDER BAY – Leaders Ledger – As people are now filing their 2011 income tax returns, we hear there are some misconceptions about how some of the Ontario tax credits will be disbursed this year, and in years to come. We’d like to clear up the confusion.

In the past, some of Ontario’s refundable tax credits were paid to people in one lump sum after they filed their taxes. This year, instead of a lump sum, payments will be made faster and ahead of tax-filing time through the new Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB).

It’s important to note that the tax credit amount you are entitled to will not change.

The Ontario Trillium Benefit simply combines the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit and the Northern Ontario Energy Tax Credit into one combined monthly payment. That means starting this July, lower-income Ontarians will, in fact, get their money back sooner.

Why the change? The government heard from many stakeholders and poverty-reduction advocates, who support the move towards monthly payments to help people throughout the year as their bills come due. The OTB will provide low- and moderate-income Ontarians with predictable and regular payments that will help with their energy bills, property taxes and sales taxes.

The monthly repayment schedule applies only to the three refundable tax credits rolled-up as the OTB, not to income tax returns in general. Other Ontario tax credits (such as the 2012 Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant and the Ontario Child Benefit) will paid in their usual instalments.

To apply for the OTB monthly benefit, you simply need to file a personal income tax return – even if you did not earn any income. Benefit payments for the period starting July 2012 through June 2013 will be based on information in the 2011 personal income tax return.

The OTB was announced in the 2011 Ontario Budget to help low- to moderate-income families pay their living expenses more frequently than before, improving their cash-flow by putting money into their wallets when they need it. The Minister of Finance has committed to offering people the choice of a lump sum or monthly cheque in future.

The OTB will be issued on the 10th of each month, starting on July 10th this year.

Michael Gravelle MPP Bill Mauro MPP
Thunder Bay Superior North Thunder Bay Atikokan