Ontario Trillium Benefit Questions and Answers

  1. What is the Ontario trillium benefit (OTB)?
  2. Am I eligible to get the OTB?
  3. Will I get the OTB if I am qualified for only one or two of the three components of the OTB?
  4. How do I apply for the 2016 OTB?
  5. When is the 2016 OTB issued?
  6. How much is the OTB?
  7. Who will issue the OTB?
  8. How will I receive my OTB payments?
  9. Can I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year rather than monthly?
  10. If I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year, can I change my mind part way through the year?
  11. If I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year, and it is accepted, are there situations where the CRA will revoke my election?
  12. Is there a deadline for choosing to get my OTB in one payment?
  13. Why did I get a lump-sum payment at the beginning of the benefit year instead of monthly payments?
  14. Is there a minimum OTB payment?
  15. I have not filed my 2015 income tax and benefit return. Will I still receive the OTB?
  16. Why doesn’t my income tax form show how much money I’ll get back?
  17. I am married. Last year, my spouse applied for the Ontario sales tax credit and I applied for the Ontario energy and property tax credit. Can we still do this?
  18. I just moved and my address changed. What should I do?
  19. I have an outstanding debt with the Canada Revenue Agency and didn't receive my goods and services tax credit because I owed money to the government. Will I receive the OTB?
  20. Is the OTB a taxable benefit?
  21. Will there be interest paid or charged on any OTB underpayments or overpayments?
  22. I forgot to apply for the OSTC, OEPTC and/or NOEC components of the OTB when I filed my prior year returns. Can I still apply?
  23. In the year of death, is the estate eligible for any OTB payment(s) for that year?
  24. If an estate receives an OTB payment for a period after the date of death, what should they do?
  25. Who should I contact if I have a question about the Ontario government’s policy on the OTB?

1. What is the Ontario trillium benefit (OTB)?

The OTB is the combined payment of the Ontario energy and property tax credit, the Northern Ontario energy credit, and the Ontario sales tax credit. The annual OTB entitlement is usually divided by 12 and the payments issued on the 10th of each month. The 2016 OTB payments, which are based on your 2015 income tax and benefit return, will be issued monthly from July 2016 to June 2017 (see note for exceptions).

Note

  • If, on your 2015 return, you chose to wait to get your 2016 OTB entitlement (see question 9) and your annual entitlement is over $360, it will be issued in one payment at the end of the benefit year on June 10, 2017.

  • If your 2016 OTB annual entitlement is $360 or less, it will be issued in one lump-sum payment in the first payment month (usually July).

  • If your 2015 return is assessed after June 10, 2016, see question 5 for when you can expect to receive your payment.

2. Am I eligible to get the OTB?

You must meet the eligibility criteria and be entitled to receive a payment for at least one of the following credits to get the OTB: the Ontario energy and property tax credit, the Northern Ontario energy credit, and the Ontario sales tax credit. Click on the links to see if you are eligible.

3. Will I get the OTB if I am qualified for only one or two of the three components of the OTB?

Yes. You only have to be entitled to one of the credits to get an OTB payment.

4. How do I apply for the 2016 OTB?

The OTB has three components: the Ontario energy and property tax credit (OEPTC), the Northern Ontario energy credit (NOEC), and the Ontario sales tax credit (OSTC).

To get the 2016 OTB, you must file your 2015 income tax and benefit return.

You do not need to apply for the 2016 OSTC component. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will use the information from your 2015 return to determine your eligibility and entitlement. In cases of families, the OSTC component of the OTB is paid to the person whose return is assessed first.

To apply for the 2016 OEPTC and/or NOEC components on your 2015 return, fill out the applicable areas of Form ON‑BEN, Application for the 2016 Ontario Trillium Benefit and Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant.

In cases of families, while the OSTC component of the OTB is paid to the person whose return is assessed first, the OEPTC/NOEC is paid to the person that has applied for the credit(s) by completing Form ON‑BEN, Application for the 2016 Ontario Trillium Benefit and Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant.

The CRA will send you a notice (see question 5) if you are entitled to receive the OTB.

To continue receiving your OTB payments in the future, you have to file your return each year and follow the above instructions.

Note

Your 2009 return was the first year you could apply for the OSTC component and your 2010 return was the first time you could apply for the OEPTC and NOEC components. If you didn’t apply on your prior year return(s), see question 22.

5. When is the 2016 OTB issued?

If you qualify and your 2015 return is assessed by June 10, 2016, in most cases, your 2016 OTB will be issued on the 10th of each month, starting on July 10, 2016 (see note for exceptions).

If you qualify and your 2015 return is assessed after June 10, 2016, in most cases, your first OTB payment will be issued within four to eight weeks after your return is assessed and on the 10th of each month thereafter (see note for exceptions).

Note

If your 2016 OTB annual entitlement is $360 or less, it will be issued in one lump-sum payment in the first payment month (usually July).

If, on your 2015 return, you chose to wait to get your 2016 OTB entitlement (see question 9) and your annual entitlement is over $360, it will be issued in one payment at the end of the benefit year on June 9, 2017.

6. How much is the OTB?

The amount of the OTB is the total of the amounts you would get for each of the Ontario energy and property tax credit, the Northern Ontario energy credit , and the Ontario sales tax credit programs.

To get an estimate of your OTB entitlement, you can use our Child and family benefits calculator.

7. Who will issue the OTB?

The Canada Revenue Agency will issue the OTB on behalf of the Ontario provincial government.

8. How will I receive my OTB payments?

If you get your income tax refund by direct deposit, you will get your OTB payments by direct deposit. Otherwise, you will get your payments by cheque.

Note

If you have not yet signed up for direct deposit, why not do so now? Direct deposit gets you your money on time, directly in your account at a Canadian financial institution. Join the thousands of taxpayers and businesses who have already made the switch to quick and easy benefit payments, tax refunds, and tax credits. For more information, go to Direct Deposit.

9. Can I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year rather than monthly?

If your annual 2016 OTB entitlement is more than $360, you can choose to wait to get your entitlement in one payment at the end of the benefit year, in June 2017, instead of receiving monthly payments from July 2016 to June 2017. To make this choice on your 2015 return, on your Form ON-BEN, Application for the 2016 Ontario Trillium Benefit and Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant, tick box 6109 in the area called, “Choice for delayed single OTB payment.” Be sure to complete the other parts of the form (including those on the reverse) that apply to your situation and attach the completed form to your return. This form is included in the tax package for residents of Ontario. You have to make this choice each year when you file your return if you want to continue receiving your annual OTB entitlement in one payment at the end of the benefit year.

If your annual OTB entitlement is $360 or less, you will get one lump-sum payment in the first payment month (usually July).

To get an estimate of your OTB entitlement, you can use our Child and family benefits calculator.

Note

If you choose to wait to get your 2016 OTB entitlement until June 2017, this choice will apply to all components of the OTB to which you are entitled.

10. If I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year, can I change my mind part way through the year?

Yes. You can either call us at 1-877-627-6645 or write a letter to your tax centre to let us know that you no longer want to wait to receive your OTB in one payment at the end of the benefit year. Within four to eight weeks after your request has been processed, you will receive any amounts that are owed to you up to that date. Then you will receive monthly payments for the remainder of the benefit year.

11. If I choose to get my OTB in one payment this year, and this election is accepted, are there situations where the CRA will revoke my election?

Yes. If any of the following situations occur during the benefit year, your accepted election will be revoked. You:

  • move outside Ontario;
  • become bankrupt;
  • die; or
  • become incarcerated for a period of 90 days or more.

If your election is revoked, you or your estate will be issued a notice explaining this. Any applicable retroactive entitlements will be issued at the same time. As well, if applicable, your spouse or common-law partner will be issued any future entitlements on a monthly basis.

12. Is there a deadline for choosing to get my OTB in one payment?

Yes. You can make this choice only when you initially file your income tax and benefit return. So, if you haven’t filed your 2015 return yet and you want to choose to receive the OTB in one payment at the end of the benefit year, you have to do so by December 31, 2016 (see question 9).

If you forgot to make the choice when you initially filed your 2015 return, you will not be able to make the election for this year’s benefit payments. However, since this is an annual choice, you will be able to make this choice on your future year returns.

13. Why did I get a lump-sum payment at the beginning of the benefit year instead of monthly payments?

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

14. Is there a minimum OTB payment?

Yes. If your annual OTB entitlement is from $2.01 to $9.99, you will get one payment of $10.00. If your annual entitlement is $2.00 or less, you will not get a payment.

15. I have not filed my 2015 income tax and benefit return. Will I still receive the OTB?

No. You must file your income tax return, even if you don't have any income to report. See question 4 for information on how to apply for the OTB. You must file your return each year if you want to continue to get the OTB.

16. Why doesn’t my income tax form show how much money I’ll get back?

Since the OTB is not part of your income tax assessment, you don’t have to calculate your entitlement on your tax return. This makes it easier to apply. Instead, the Canada Revenue Agency will calculate your entitlement for you based on the information you provide on your return.

To get an estimate of your OTB entitlement, you can use our Child and family benefits calculator.

If you want to calculate your OTB entitlement yourself, you have to calculate each component separately. Go to:

17. I am married. Last year, my spouse applied for the Ontario sales tax credit and I applied for the Ontario energy and property tax credit. Can we still do this?

The same spouse or partner has to apply for the Ontario energy and property tax credit and the Northern Ontario energy credit. If only one spouse or partner is age 64 or older on December 31, 2015, that spouse has to apply for the  Ontario energy and property tax credit and the  Northern Ontario energy credit for the family. However, starting with your 2014 return, you no longer apply for the Ontario sales tax credit. The CRA will use the information from your tax return to determine your eligibility and entitlement for the Ontario sales tax credit. If you are married or living common-law, this credit will be issued to the spouse or common-law partner whose return is assessed first (regardless of which spouse/partner applied for the Ontario energy and property tax credit and the Northern Ontario energy credit).

Also, if one spouse or partner has applied for the Ontario senior homeowners’ property tax grant, only that person can apply for the Ontario energy and property tax credit and the Northern Ontario energy credit for the family.

18. I just moved and my address changed. What should I do?

You should give the Canada Revenue Agency your new address as soon as possible by calling 1‑877‑627‑6645. You can also change your address online by going to My Account. Be sure to tell the CRA the exact date of your move.

19. I have an outstanding debt with the Canada Revenue Agency and didn't receive my goods and services tax credit because I owed money to the government. Will I receive the OTB?

Your OTB payment will first be used to pay off any debt you owe to the Canada Revenue Agency or its external partners, including family support orders that are in arrears. If any amount remains, it will be sent to you.

20. Is the OTB a taxable benefit?

No. The OTB is not taxable.

21. Will there be interest paid or charged on any OTB underpayments or overpayments?

No. Interest is not charged or given on any OTB overpayments or underpayments. This includes any delayed OTB payments (see question 9).

22. I forgot to apply for the OSTC, OEPTC and/or NOEC components of the OTB when I filed my prior year returns. Can I still apply?

Yes. You have to request a reassessment to the applicable return or returns. Do not file additional returns for these years. Instead, you can make your request by visiting My Account. My Account is a secure, convenient, and time saving way to access and manage your tax and benefit information online, seven days a week.

The OSTC has been available as a benefit payment since the 2009 return and the OEPTC and NOEC components have been available since the 2010 return.

If you haven’t signed up for My Account, you can send the following information to your tax centre: a completed Form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request for each applicable year or a signed letter indicating that you want to apply for the OSTC, the OEPTC and/or the NOEC (be sure to state the year or years you want adjusted). If you are applying for OEPTC and/or NOEC, please attach to your letter or Form(s) T1-ADJ a completed Form ON-BEN for the applicable year(s) or provide information for whichever of the following apply to you for each year:

  • a statement that indicates whether you lived in a designated Ontario university, college, or private school residence in the tax year;
  • the rent paid by or for you for your principal residence in Ontario for the tax year;
  • the property tax paid by or for you for your principal residence in Ontario for the tax year;
  • the home energy costs paid by or for you for your principal residence on a reserve in Ontario for the tax year; or
  • the accommodation costs paid by or for you for living in a public long-term care home in Ontario for the tax year.

Note

For the last four bullets, include your supporting receipts.

23. In the year of death, is the estate eligible for any OTB payment(s) for that year?

If the date of death is before July 1, 2016, the estate is not eligible for any of the 2016 OTB payments.

If the date of death is July 1, 2016, or later, and the deceased meets the eligibility criteria for at least one of the components of the OTB, the estate may be entitled for one or more 2016 OTB payments. The 2016 OTB payment for a particular month would be made if the date of death is on or after the first day of that month. For example, if the date of death was November 1, 2016, the estate would be entitled to the 2016 OTB payments for the months of July 2016 to November 2016 (if they were not already issued to the taxpayer prior to their death). The estate would not be entitled to the 2016 OTB payments for the months of December 2016 to June 2017.

24. If an estate receives an OTB payment for a period after the date of death, what should they do?

If an estate receives an OTB payment for a month after the date of death, they must return the payment to the tax centre that served the deceased prior to their death. When returning the payment, they should provide the deceased’s date of death or a copy of the death certificate if not previously provided.

25. Who should I contact if I have a question about the Ontario government’s policy on the OTB?

You can call the Province of Ontario at 1‑866‑ONT‑TAXS (1‑866‑668‑8297) and ask for information on the Ontario tax credits.

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