GST/ HST credit
The Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit is a tax-free quarterly payment (in January, April, July and October) that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay.
Since 2014, we no longer have to apply for the GST/HST credit. When we file our 2014 tax return, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine our eligibility and will advise those who are eligible to receive the credit. But we must be a Resident of Canada (Don’t need to hold Canadian Citizenship), 19 years of age or above at the end of the previous year.
How much would it be?
For July 2014 to June 2015, the basic GST/HST credit amount is $268. It gets better if you are married or has a common law partner and has kids. It gets double if you have a spouse (so $268 x 2= $536) and for each child you will get $141. There is also supplemental GST/HST credit up to $141 for low income single person or single parent. So if you are married, has three eligible kids then you may be entitled up to $959 per year. Wow!
If your combined family income is above certain level (currently $34,872), then the total GST/HST credit is reduced by 5% in excess of the specified amount and it becomes to 0 if the combined family income exceeds $51,232.
What to do?
So here is the key takeaway. If you are not a Canadian resident, you may want to research your own country’s Goods and Service Tax credit to get refund. A lot of countries offer similar sort of credit. Whether you are just studying in Canada for really short period (just a couple of years) or longer period but never filed tax returns because you did not have any income, I strongly recommend you to file tax returns because you may be eligible for GST/HST credit and also other provincial credits. They maybe add up to $1000 or even higher. I had not filed my tax returns while I was in university and filed my first tax return when I started working. Guess how much did I receive? It was close to $2000! It was because I was able to recover all the unclaimed GST/HST credit over the years. File your tax return even if you have no income to report and collect that cold hard cash!
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