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Less than one month is left to file your income tax on time, by April 30. You have to file an income tax return to claim the various tax credits and benefits you may be eligible for, including:

  • The Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit, which helps eligible people 65 years or older with the cost of public transit
  • The Ontario Child Benefit, which provides families up to $117 per child, per month, for children under 18
  • The Ontario Trillium Benefit, which combines three tax credits into one to help people, including students, with the cost of energy, property taxes and sales taxes
  • The Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant, which provides homeowners 64 or older with up to $500 to help with the cost of property taxes
  • The new Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit, which provides relief for those caring for a family member who is dependent because of a health condition.
  • Guaranteed income supplement (GIS)
  • Canada child benefit (CCB) (including any related provincial or territorial benefits)
  • GST/HST credit (including any related provincial credits)
  • Working income tax benefit (WITB)

What’s new this tax-filing season

This tax-filing season, many important changes and improvements were made to services, benefits, and credits for Canadians. Here’s what you need to know:

New and improved credits

  • Canada caregiver credit – This non-refundable tax credit replaces the family caregiver credit, the credit for infirm dependants age 18 or older, and the caregiver credit. It gives tax relief to eligible individuals who have a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant, with an impairment in physical or mental functions.
  • Disability tax credit (DTC) certification – Nurse practitioners across Canada can now certify the application form for the DTC.
  • Medical expense tax credit – If you need medical intervention to conceive a child, you may be eligible to claim certain expenses even if you do not have a medical condition. These expenses are the same as those that would generally be allowable for individuals who have a medical condition. If you had fertility-related expenses for any of the 10 previous calendar years and you have not claimed them, you can request a change to your income tax and benefit return(s) to include these eligible expenses.

Credits that were eliminated

  • Tuition, education, and textbook credits – As of January 1, 2017, the federal education and textbook credits were eliminated. However, you can still carry forward unused amounts from previous years. Also, with certain conditions, you may now be able to claim the tuition amount for fees you paid to a post-secondary educational institution for occupational skills courses, even if they are not at a post-secondary level.
  • Children’s credits – As of January 1, 2017, the children’s arts tax credit and children’s fitness tax credit were eliminated.
  • Public transit tax credit – As of July 1, 2017, this credit was eliminated. For this tax year, you can claim the cost of eligible public transit expenses only for travel taken from January 1 to June 30, 2017.

New services to file income taxes

  • Mailing a paper income tax and benefit return to your home – Starting this year, the CRA will mail a 2017 income tax and benefits guide and forms book to paper filers. These individuals won’t have to go to Canada Post, Caisse populaire Desjardins, or Service Canada locations to get their printed tax products. Those who want to file on paper and haven’t received a guide and forms book by February 26, 2018, from the CRA can find what they need online or order a paper copy from the CRA. An order limit of nine packages per individual will ensure all Canadians have access to what they need this filing season.
  • File your taxes over the phone with File My Return – This new service lets eligible Canadians with simple tax situations file their return by answering a few questions over the telephone through an automated service.
  • View transactions and pay balances with CRA BizApp – The CRA has released a new mobile web app called CRA BizApp. This app lets small businesses and sole proprietors view their business account balances and make payments by pre-authorized debit to their corporation, goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST), payroll, and excise duty accounts.

Enhanced Services

  • Don’t wait for your notice of assessment; get an Express NOA – This service delivers a notice of assessment (NOA) directly into your certified tax software shortly after you file your return electronically. To use the service, you must be registered for online mail in My Account and file your return electronically using a certified tax software.
  • ReFILE lets you adjust your return using your tax software – The ReFILE service now lets you change your return using your preferred certified filing software. Make sure you receive your notice of assessment before sending a change through ReFILE.
  • Get Online mail directly in My Account – The CRA is adding more mail for individuals to receive directly in My Account. This tax season, online mail provides correspondence about tax free savings accounts, notices of assessment, benefit notices and slips, and more, including correspondence from some of the CRA’s review programs (e.g. requests for receipts).
  • Pay taxes in person – You can now pay your individual tax, benefits and credits repayments, and other select payments to the CRA in person with cash or a debit card at any Canada Post outlet across the country. To pay in person, you must first create a personalized payment barcode online.
  • Protect your account with Account Alerts – For added security, when a representative is added, deleted, or changed on your account, the CRA will send you an email notifying you of the recent activity on your account.
  • Automatically fill in parts of your return with Auto-fill my return – The service lets you or your authorized representatives automatically fill in parts of your 2015, 2016, and 2017 income tax and benefit returns with information the CRA has available at the time of filing the return.

Ontario also offers a number of tax credits for businesses, including the Co-operative Education Tax Credit that helps companies hire co-op students and the Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit.

Quick Facts

  • Most Canadian income tax and benefit returns for 2017 are due on April 30, 2018. If you or your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, you have until June 15, 2018.
  • Even if people do not have income to report, they still must file a tax return to qualify for tax credits and benefits.
  • People should always do their research before hiring someone to file their taxes — choosing a company with a good reputation or hiring someone who is properly trained.
  • Ontario cut the small business corporate income tax rate by 22%, from 4.5% to 3.5%, effective January 1, 2018.
  • Last year, nearly 90% of the 25 million returns Canadians filed were completed online.
  • Starting February 26, 2018, Canadians can start filing their income tax and benefit returns online.
  • From February 26 to April 30, 2018, the CRA will be offering extended evening and weekend hours for Individual Tax Enquiries. Over 3,000 telephone agents will be available Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 9 am to 9 pm (local time) weekdays, and from 9 am to 5 pm (local time) on Saturdays (except Easter weekend) to serve as many people as possible. Our automated service will remain available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • New this year, individuals can obtain both their account balance and the amount of the last payment made to the CRA through the use of an automated, self-serve Interactive Voice Response system without needing to speak to an agent.
  • Express NOA allows those using certified tax software as well as tax preparers to print a notice of assessment right after filing.
  • Canadians can now make in-person payments at any Canada Post outlet using cash or debit card.

Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Additional Resources

April, 2018, Ministry of Finance


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