GST/HST Credit

Including related provincial credits and benefits

For the period from July 2016 to June 2017

RC4210(E) Rev. 16

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La version française de ce guide est intitulée Crédit pour la TPS/TVH.

Table of contents

Is this guide for you?

This guide gives information about your eligibility for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, when you get it, and how we calculate it for the period from July 2016 to June 2017.

It also gives information about related provincial programs administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

What's new for 2016?

New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit

Starting in October 2016, eligible families will receive quarterly payments intended to help offset the increase in the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax credit. The first payment will include a retroactive amount for July 2016. For more information, see New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit.

Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement

The Newfoundland and Labrador harmonized sales tax credit has been renamed the Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement. The supplement will now be paid on a quarterly basis with the federal GST/HST credit. The first quarterly payment will be issued in October 2016 and will include any retroactive payments to July 2016. For more information, see Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement.

Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit

The Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit will now be paid on a quarterly basis with the federal GST/HST credit. The first quarterly payment will be issued in October 2016 and will include any retroactive payments to July 2016. For more information see Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit.

Definitions

Adjusted family net income – this is your family net income minus any universal child care benefit (UCCB) and registered disability savings plan (RDSP) income received plus any UCCB and RDSP amounts repaid.

Common-law partner – this applies to a person who is not your spouse, with whom you are living in a conjugal relationship, and to whom at least one of the following situations applies. He or she:

  • has been living with you in a conjugal relationship, and this current relationship has lasted at least 12 continuous months;

    Note
    In this definition, 12 continuous months includes any period you were separated for less than 90 days because of a breakdown in the relationship.

  • is the parent of your child by birth or adoption; or
  • has custody and control of your child (or had custody and control immediately before the child turned 19 years of age) and your child is wholly dependent on that person for support.

Family net incomethis is your net income (line 236 of your income tax and benefit return) added to the net income of your spouse or common-law partner, if you have one. Family net income does not include your child’s net income.

If you or your spouse or common-law partner were non-residents of Canada for part or all of the year, family net income includes your or your spouse's or common-law partner's income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada, for any part of the year either of you were not residents of Canada.

Separated – you are separated when you start living separate and apart from your spouse or common-law partner because of a breakdown in the relationship for a period of at least 90 days and you have not reconciled.

Once you have been separated for 90 days (because of a breakdown in the relationship), the effective day of your separated status is the date you started living separate and apart.

Spouse – this applies only to a person to whom you are legally married.

What is the GST/HST credit?

The GST/HST credit is a non-taxable quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low and modest incomes offset all or part of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) that they pay.

Are you eligible for the credit?

You are eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada for income tax purposes in the month before and at the beginning of the month in which we make a payment (see When do we pay your credit?), and at least one of the following applies:

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

Note

If you will turn 19 years of age before April 2017, see Will you turn 19 years of age before April 2017?

Generally, you are not eligible for the GST/HST credit if at the beginning of the month in which we make a quarterly payment, any of the following apply:

  • you are not a resident of Canada for income tax purposes;
  • you do not have to pay tax in Canada because you are an officer or servant of another country (such as a diplomat) or a family member or employee of such a person; or
  • you are confined to a prison or similar institution for a period of 90 consecutive days or more.

Note

You cannot get the credit for a spouse, common-law partner, or child who meets any of these conditions at the beginning of the month in which we make a quarterly payment.

How do you get the credit?

To get the GST/HST credit, including any related provincial credits, you have to file an income tax and benefit return for 2015, even if you have not received income in the year.

We will let you know in July 2016 how much you will get and how we calculated it. For more information, see How do we calculate your credit?

If you are a new resident of Canada and you want to get the GST/HST credit, fill out Form RC151, GST/HST credit application for individuals who become residents of Canada, for the year that you became a resident of Canada. For more information for newcomers to Canada, go to Newcomers or see Pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada.

You have up to three years to ask for a retroactive payment. If you did not apply for the credit on your 2013 income tax and benefit return or have not filed a 2014 return within the three-year period, you can send us a request under the taxpayer relief provisions of the Income Tax Act. For more information, go to Taxpayer Relief Provisions or see Information Circular IC07-1, Taxpayer Relief Provisions.

For a deceased recipient, the GST/HST credit entitlement ends the quarter following the date of the date. For more information, see Has a GST/HST credit recipient died?

Social insurance number (SIN)

You need a SIN to get the GST/HST credit. For more information, or to get an application for a SIN, visit the Service Canada website or call 1-800-206-7218. To find the address of the Service Canada Centre nearest you, call 1-800-622-6232.

If Service Canada will not give you a SIN, you can still get the GST/HST credit if you meet all of the conditions listed under Are you eligible for the credit? Attach a note to your filled out Form RC151, GST/HST credit application for individuals who become residents of Canada, explaining why you cannot get a SIN and include a photocopy of one of the following documents:

  • passport;
  • driver's licence;
  • visitor record or study permit;
  • temporary resident permit; or
  • any document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Do you have a spouse or common-law partner?

You can get the credit for your spouse or common-law partner. Generally, your spouse or common-law partner has to be a resident of Canada in the month before and at the beginning of the month in which we make a payment (see When do we pay your credit?).

If you had a spouse or common-law partner on December 31, 2015, fill out the information about your spouse or common-law partner in the "Identification" area on page 1 of your income tax and benefit return.

Enter his or her SIN and his or her net income (from line 236 of his or her income tax and benefit return), even if it is zero. Incomplete or incorrect information may delay the processing of your application.

Only one of you can get the credit for both of you. The credit will be paid to the spouse or common-law partner whose tax return is assessed first. No matter which one of you receives the credit, the amount will be the same.

If your marital status changed after December 31, 2015, you must tell us. For more information, see Has your marital status changed?

Do you have children under 19 years of age?

You can get the credit for each of your children if all of the following apply at the beginning of the month in which we make a payment. The child:

  • is your child, or is dependent on you or your spouse or common-law partner for support;
  • is under 19 years of age;
  • has never had a spouse or common-law partner;
  • has never been a parent of a child he or she lived with; and
  • lives with you.

Each eligible parent in a shared custody situation may get half of the GST/HST credit for that child. This also applies to any related provincial credit.

For more information about shared custody situations, see Shared custody, call 1-800-387-1193, or see Booklet T4114, Canada Child Benefits.

The credit for your child will be included in your credit.

You cannot get the credit for a child if, at the beginning of the month in which we make a payment, the child is not living with you because he or she is maintained by an agency or is in foster care. Also, you cannot get the credit for a foster child in your care.

Your GST/HST credit will automatically be recalculated to exclude a child who turned 19 years of age during the year. The adjustment is effective in the quarterly payment following the child's 19th birthday.

Example

Gloria and David get the GST/HST credit for themselves and their two children. Kristin, their elder daughter, turns 19 years of age on August 6, 2016. Gloria and David's GST/HST credit will be automatically recalculated to include only one child for the next quarterly payment made in October 2016.

In order for Kristin to get the GST/HST credit, including any related provincial credits, she must file an income tax and benefit return for 2015, even if she has not received income in the year. Kristin's eligibility will be automatically determined when she files her return. She may be entitled to get the GST/HST credit in October 2016 and January and April 2017, for herself.

How do you register your children?

Your child is automatically registered for the GST/HST credit if, when he or she was born, you gave your consent on the provincial birth registration form or if you have applied for the Canada child benefit. If you become primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child, you can register him or her for the GST/HST credit and related provincial programs by:

Will you turn 19 years of age before April 2016?

Generally, you have to be 19 years of age or older to get the GST/HST credit.

If you are going to turn 19 years of age before April 2017, make sure that you file your 2015 income tax and benefit return. The CRA will automatically determine your eligibility for the GST/HST credit and you may start getting it with the first payment after the month of your 19th birthday (see When do we pay your credit?).

Example

Amanda will turn 19 years of age on January 5, 2017. She may be entitled to the quarterly GST/HST credit issued in April 2017, if she files a 2015 income tax and benefit return. Amanda will not be entitled to the January 2017 credit, since she will not be 19 years of age before the first day of January 2017.

How do we calculate your credit?

Base year and benefit year

The base year is the year of the income tax and benefit return from which information is taken to calculate the GST/HST credit entitlement for the benefit year.

The benefit year is the 12-month period during which the GST/HST credits are paid. The benefit year runs from July 1 of the year following the base year to June 30 of the next year.

For example, GST/HST credit payments calculated on the 2015 income tax and benefit return will start being issued in July 2016, which is the beginning of the benefit year. For more information, see When do we pay your credit?

The following chart illustrates the link between the base year and the benefit year.

Base Year and Benefit Year
Base year (tax return) Benefit year (payments)
2015 July 2016 – June 2017
2014 July 2015 – June 2016
2013 July 2014 – June 2015

If the CRA determines that you are eligible for the GST/HST credit based on your 2015 income tax and benefit return, we will send you a GST/HST credit notice in July 2016. It will show how much you will get and how we calculated the amount.

For the benefit year from July 2016 to June 2017, we base your credit on:

  • the number of children you have registered for the GST/HST credit; and
  • your adjusted family net income for the 2015 base year.

Example

Amir is single with no children. When he files his 2015 income tax and benefit return, the CRA will automatically determine if he is eligible for the GST/HST credit. If Amir is eligible, we will use the information on his 2015 income tax and benefit return to determine what amount he is entitled to get for the benefit year starting in July 2016.

Benefits online calculator

You can use our online service to get an estimate of your GST/HST credit by going to Child and family benefits calculator.

When do we pay your credit?

You will get your annual GST/HST credit, which was calculated using information from your 2015 income tax and benefit return, in four payments. We will make these payments on July 5 and October 5, 2016, and on January 5 and April 5, 2017.

However, if your GST/HST credit calculated in July 2016 is less than $50 per quarter, we will pay you for the entire benefit year on July 5, 2016.

If your payment does not arrive on the scheduled day, wait 10 working days before calling 1-800-387-1193.

You can view GST/HST payments in My Account or by using the MyCRA mobile app.

When do we recalculate your credit?

A change in your situation may cause your GST/HST credit payment to be recalculated based on the effective date of the change. We will send you a GST/HST credit notice of determination showing our revised calculation when any of the following situations apply:

  • after each reassessment of either your or your spouse's or common-law partner's income tax and benefit return that affects net income and results in an entitlement change;
  • if a child for whom you get the credit turns 19 years of age;
  • after a change in your marital status or in the number of eligible children in your care; or
  • after the death of a GST/HST credit recipient.

For more information, see When should you contact us?

What happens if you were overpaid?

If a recalculation shows you have been overpaid the GST/HST credit, we will send you a notice with a remittance voucher attached to inform you of the amount due. We will keep all future GST/HST credit payments or income tax refunds until the balance is repaid.

Note

We will also apply GST/HST credit payments to amounts owing for income tax balances or amounts owing to other federal or provincial government programs.

You can also repay the overpayment. For more information on how to make a payment, go to Make a payment to the Canada Revenue Agency.

When should you contact us?

You should advise us immediately about certain changes, as well as the date they happened or will happen. This section explains what the changes are and how you should tell us about them.

Our service standards are outlined in Service standards.

Has the number of children in your care changed?

We may need to recalculate your credit based on new information such as when:

If this is the case, you can notify us through My Account or by calling 1-800-387-1193.

Has your marital status changed?

If your marital status changes, you must let us know by the end of the month following the month in which your status changed, because this could affect the amount of GST/HST credit to which you are entitled. We define common-law partner, separated, and spouse in the Definitions section. To tell us about this change, you can :

Note

Only one GST/HST credit payment is allowed per family each quarter. If you were both getting payments as individuals before you were married or became common-law partners, and you both continued to get payments after your marital status changed, one of you will have to repay the amounts you got after your status changed. Either your or your spouse's or common law partner's payments will be adjusted to include the credit for both of you.

If you are now separated, divorced, or widowed, the CRA will automatically determine your eligibility for the GST/HST credit based on your revised status and your 2015 income tax and benefit return.

Note

Do not tell us of your separation until you have been separated for a period of at least 90 days.

Example

Zachary and Kim separated on October 15, 2016. They have no children. They advised us of their new marital status by sending a filled out Form RC65, Marital Status Change, on January 15, 2017. They entered October 15, 2016, as the date their new marital status began. Zachary filed a 2015 income tax and benefit return but Kim did not. Kim must file a 2015 income tax and benefit return for the CRA to determine her eligibility for the GST/HST credit for the remainder of the benefit year.

Has a GST/HST credit recipient died?

An individual is not entitled to get GST/HST credit payments after he or she dies. However, we may send out a payment after the date of death because we are not aware of the situation. If this happens, you have to return the payment to us, and let us know the date of the death of the recipient so that we can update our records.

Was the deceased married or living common-law?

If the deceased recipient's GST/HST credit included an amount for a spouse or common-law partner, the CRA will automatically determine that spouse or common-law partner's eligibility for the remaining GST/HST credit payments for himself or herself and for any of their children. If the surviving spouse or common-law partner did not file an income tax and benefit return, he or she has to do so to get the credit.

Was the deceased single, separated, divorced, or widowed?

If the recipient died before the scheduled month in which we issue the credit, we cannot make any more payments in that person’s name or to that person’s estate.

If the recipient died during or after the scheduled month in which we issue the credit and the payment has not been cashed, return it to us so that we can send the payment to the person’s estate.

If the recipient was getting a credit for a child, the child’s new caregiver should contact us to request GST/HST credit payments for that child.

Example 1

Brenda, a GST/HST credit recipient, died on July 1, 2016. Brenda’s sister Judy called us after she got Brenda’s July 2016 payment to find out if the estate is entitled to the credit. Since Brenda was alive on the first day of the month in which we issued the credit, the estate is entitled to the July 2016 credit. However, no more credits will be issued. We told Judy to return the cheque to us so it can be reissued to Brenda’s estate.

Example 2

Mark is a divorced GST/HST credit recipient who has no eligible children. He died on February 28, 2016. Mark’s mother called to tell us of her son’s death and wanted to know if the estate would continue to get Mark’s GST/HST credits. The estate would not be eligible for GST/HST credits for periods after his death.

Are you moving?

If you move, let us know your new address immediately. Otherwise, your payments may stop, even if you use direct deposit and your bank account does not change.

You can change your address by using My Account or the MyCRA mobile app, by calling 1-800-387-1193, or by sending a filled out form RC325, Address change request.

Other changes

Call 1-800-387-1193  to tell us:

  • if any of the personal information, such as your name, marital status, or the spousal or child information shown on your GST/HST credit notice is not correct; or
  • if you (or your spouse or common-law partner) are no longer a resident of Canada.

Note

If your spouse or common-law partner immigrates to Canada, he or she will have to send us the following information in writing:

  • social insurance number;
  • date of birth;
  • address;
  • immigration date; and
  • statement of income.

Service standards

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to providing you with service that is fair, accurate, timely, courteous, and confidential. Our service standards apply to processing applications and marital status change forms, responding to correspondence, reviewing programs, and responding to telephone enquiries.

Benefit applications and marital status change

Timeliness – Our goal is to issue a payment, notice, or explanation to you within 80 calendar days.

Accuracy – Our goal is to accurately process the appropriate payment and notice and, if necessary, a letter requesting additional information.

Correspondence

Timeliness – Our goal is to respond to written enquiries and telephone referrals from the call centres within 80 calendar days.

Accuracy – Our goal is to respond to written enquiries and telephone referrals from the call centres with the correct information, and process new recipient information, including issuing a payment, notice, or letter, accurately.

Review

Timeliness – Our goal is to inform you of the result of our review within 45 days after we receive the information requested.

Telephone enquiries

Our courteous and knowledgeable agents will be pleased to respond to your questions in the official language of your choice. Our goal is to respond to telephone enquiries within two minutes.

You may have difficulty reaching us during peak periods.

Related provincial programs

The CRA administers the following provincial programs that are related to the GST/HST credit:

You do not need to apply to a province to get payments for these programs. If you are eligible for the GST/HST credit, your provincial credit payments will be combined with your GST/HST credit payments (except for the Ontario sales tax credit payments, which are issued separately as part of the Ontario trillium benefit).

If you use our direct deposit service for your GST/HST credit payments, we will deposit your provincial payments into the same account.

BC low income climate action tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to help low-income individuals and families with the carbon taxes they pay.

The program provides a credit of up to $115.50 for an individual, $115.50 for a spouse or common-law partner, and $34.50 per child under 19 years of age ($115.50 for the first child in a single parent family). For single individuals with no children, the credit is reduced by 2% of their adjusted net income over $32,737. For families, the credit is reduced by 2% of their adjusted family net income over $38,193.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payment of the federal GST/HST credit.

The BC low income climate action tax credit is fully funded by the Province of British Columbia.

New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to help offset the increase in the sales tax for households with low and modest incomes.

The program provides for a maximum annual amount of $300 for an individual, $300 for a spouse or common-law partner, and $100 per child under 19 years of age ($300 for the first child in a single parent family). The credit is reduced by 2% of the adjusted family net income over $35,000.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit is fully funded by the Province of New Brunswick.

Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement

This program provides a non-taxable amount paid quarterly to low-income individuals, families, seniors, and persons with disabilities to help reduce the impact of additional tax measures. It is calculated based on your family situation and your adjusted family net income.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement is fully funded by the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit

This program provides a non-taxable annual amount of $1,313 for a single senior (65 years of age or older at any time during 2016) or a married or common-law couple with at least one senior whose adjusted family net income is $29,402 or less. Eligible seniors will get part of this payment if their adjusted family net income is between $29,402 and $40,663.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit is fully funded by the province.

Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to make life more affordable for Nova Scotian households with low and modest incomes. This credit offsets the increase in the HST and provides additional income for these households.

The program provides a maximum annual credit of $255 for an individual or a couple, and $60 for each child under 19 years of age. The credit is reduced by 5% of adjusted family net income over $30,000.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit is fully funded by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Ontario sales tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to provide relief for Ontario residents with low and modest incomes for the sales tax they pay.

The program provides a maximum annual credit of $291 for each adult and each child under 19 years of age in a family. If you are a single individual with no children, the credit will be reduced by 4% of your adjusted net income over $22,388. If you are a single parent, or are married or living common-law, the credit will be reduced by 4% of your adjusted family net income over $27,985.

This amount is part of the Ontario trillium benefit. You can choose to get the payments monthly, issued on the 10th of each month, or in one payment at the end of the benefit year (in June), if the annual entitlement is over $360.

If the annual entitlement is $360 or less, it will be issued in one lump‑sum payment in the first payment month (usually in July).

For more information, call 1-877-627-6645. The Ontario sales tax credit is fully funded by the Province of Ontario.

Prince Edward Island sales tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to help offset the increase in the sales tax for households with low and modest incomes.

The program provides an annual credit of $110 for an individual plus, if applicable, $55 for a spouse, common-law partner or an eligible dependant. There is also a supplement of 0.5% of adjusted family net income over $30,000, up to a maximum of $55. The total of the above is reduced by 2% of adjusted family net income over $50,000.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The Prince Edward Island sales tax credit is fully funded by the Province of Prince Edward Island.

Saskatchewan low-income tax credit

This credit is a non-taxable amount paid to help Saskatchewan residents with low and modest incomes.

The program provides $246 for an individual, $246 for a spouse or common-law partner (or for an eligible dependant), and $96 per child under 19 years of age (maximum of two children), or an annual credit of up to $684 per family.

The credit starts to be reduced when the adjusted family net income is more than $32,301. Families with adjusted family net income between $32,301 and $66,500 may get part of the credit.

This amount is combined with the quarterly payments of the federal GST/HST credit.

The Saskatchewan low-income tax credit is fully funded by the Province of Saskatchewan.

Tax centre addresses

Send your filled out form or letter and any documents to the tax centre that serves your area.

Online services

My Account

Using the CRA's My Account service is a fast, easy, and secure way to access and manage your tax and benefit information online, seven days a week.

To register for My Account, go to My Account. You will need to complete two steps. You will be asked to enter some personal information and create a user ID and password or use a Sign-in Partner. Be sure to have your current and previous year's personal tax returns on hand when registering. After you complete step one, you will have instant access to some of your tax and benefit information. Step two includes the mailing of the CRA security code. We will mail it to the address we have on file for you. The separate mailing of the security code is a measure used to protect you from identity theft and to ensure the security of your personal information. You will have access to the full suite of services available in My Account once you enter your code.

An authorized representative can access most of these online services through Represent a Client.

MyCRA – Mobile app

Getting ready to file? Use MyCRA to:

  • check your RRSP deduction limits;
  • look up a local tax preparer; and
  • see what tax filing software the CRA has certified.

Done filing? Use MyCRA to:

  • check the status of your tax return; and
  • view your notice of assessment.

Use MyCRA throughout the year to:

  • view your personalized benefit and credit payment amounts;
  • check your TFSA contribution room;
  • update your contact details;
  • manage your direct deposit and online mail information; and
  • request your proof of income statement (option C).

To get more details on what you can do with MyCRA and to access the CRA’s web-based mobile app, go to Mobile apps.

Electronic payments

Make your payment using:

For more information on all payment options, go to Make a payment to the Canada Revenue Agency.

For more information

What if you need help?

If you need more information after reading this guide, go to Goods and services tax/Harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit or call 1-800-387-1193.

Direct deposit

Direct deposit is a fast, convenient, reliable, and secure way to get your CRA payments directly into your account at a financial institution in Canada. To sign up for direct deposit or to update your banking information go to Direct deposit.

Forms and publications

To get our forms and publications, go to Forms and publications or call  1-800-387-1193.

Electronic mailing lists

We can notify you by email when new information on a subject of interest to you is available on our website. To subscribe to our electronic mailing lists, go to Electronic mailing lists.

Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS)

For personal and general tax information by telephone, use our automated service, TIPS, by calling 1-800-267-6999.

Teletypewriter (TTY) users

TTY users can call 1-800-665-0354 for bilingual assistance during regular business hours.

Service complaints

You can expect to be treated fairly under clear and established rules, and get a high level of service each time you deal with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); see the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

If you are not satisfied with the service you received, try to resolve the matter with the CRA employee you have been dealing with or call the telephone number provided in the CRA’s correspondence. If you do not have contact information, go to Contact information.

If you still disagree with the way your concerns were addressed, you can ask to discuss the matter with the employee's supervisor.

If you are still not satisfied, you can then file a service complaint by filling out Form RC193, Service-Related Complaint. For more information, go to Make a service complaint.

If the CRA has not resolved your service-related complaint, you can submit a complaint with the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman.

Reprisal complaint

If you believe that you have experienced reprisal, fill out Form RC459, Reprisal Complaint.

For more information about reprisal complaints, go to Reprisal complaints.

Tax information videos

We have a number of tax information videos for individuals on topics such as the income tax and benefit return, the Canadian tax system, and tax measures for persons with disabilities. To watch our videos, go to Video gallery. 

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