Unveiling the Benefits of the GST/HST Tax Credit: How Canadians Can Maximize Their Returns

March 12, 2024
4 minutes

Do you need clarification about the GST/HST payment? If you’re concerned that this is some sneaky additional tax you owe, rest assured that it is not. 

Actually, the GST/HST tax credit is money the Canadian government returns to families of modest or low income to offset the money they’ve spent on taxes throughout the year. Eligibility is based on your annual income, but you must check a box on your tax return to ensure you receive the credit. 

GST/HST tax credits are awarded in four instalments throughout the year. Knowing when to expect your GST payments can help you plan strategically to make the most of this small financial windfall.

Keep reading for more information on how the GST/HST tax credit works, how much you can expect to receive, the full benefit payment date schedule, and some tips on maximizing your returns. 

Overview of the GST/HST Tax Credit

Families that earn a modest or low income are eligible to receive GST/HST tax credits to offset the money they spend on these taxes throughout the year. It’s a non-taxable credit, meaning it doesn’t count toward a recipient’s yearly gross income.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the GST/HST tax credit, you must be a resident of Canada at the beginning of the month in which the payment is made. You must be at least 19 years old in the month prior to when the payment is made. 

If you’re under 19, you can still qualify for the GST/HST tax credit if at least one of the following is true in the month before the payment:

  • You are/were a parent and live/lived with your child 
  • You have/had a spouse or common law partner

Individuals and families must fall below a certain family net income threshold to be eligible for the payment period.

Calculation of the credit amount

Your GST/HST credit amount is based on your marital status and whether or not you have any eligible dependents—the base amount of the credit changes with each tax year. 

For 2024, the GST/HST credit amount you’ll receive is as follows:

  • $496 for single, eligible adults 19 or over
  • $171 for each eligible child under 19
  • $650 for married couples or common-law partners

GST/HST Payment Dates

The total GST/HST credit will be split across four payments made on the 5th of January, April, July, and October. Therefore, expect your GST payment dates to be as such:

  • Jan 5, 2024
  • Apr 5, 2024
  • July 5, 2024
  • Oct 5, 2024

Benefits of the GST/HST Tax Credit

The GST/HST tax credit offers several benefits for low-income or modest-income families and individuals. They reduce the burden of paying taxes on goods and services by putting money back in the pockets of individuals who need it most. 

The benefit can offer financial assistance by helping to stretch grocery budgets or enable individuals to put some extra money in savings or toward debt payments.

Alleviating even a minor amount of financial strain on lower-income families and individuals helps keep them afloat and supports overall economic stability and growth.

Strategies to Maximize GST/HST Tax Credit Returns

Use these tips to utilize the GST/HST tax credit fully. 

Ensure eligibility and registration for the credit

To receive the HST credit payments, you must meet the eligibility requirements mentioned above and file a personal income tax return before your HST payment dates can commence. 

Understand the impact of income and family size on the credit amount

Knowing how much of a tax credit to expect can help you strategically allocate the funds. Use the base payment amounts mentioned above to determine how much you’ll be eligible to receive this year. 

Optimize tax returns to increase the credit

Depending on where you live and your family and relationship status, you may be eligible for additional tax rebates in combination with your GST/HST tax credit. There are several provincial and territorial programs that may supplement your benefit if you’re eligible, including:

  • BC climate action tax credit
  • New Brunswick harmonized sales tax credit
  • Newfoundland and Labrador income supplement
  • Newfoundland and Labrador seniors' benefit
  • Northwest Territories cost of living offset
  • Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit
  • Ontario sales tax credit
  • Prince Edward Island sales tax credit
  • Saskatchewan low-income tax credit
  • Yukon government carbon price rebate

Utilize financial planning tools to maximize returns

Put your tax credits to work by factoring them into your financial plan. Working from a monthly budget is a smart way to keep your finances in check and plan for future expenses. When your tax credit arrives, having a strategic plan for the funds will ensure you use them to better your overall financial situation. 

Additional Resources and Support

For more information on how to apply for your GST/HST tax credit and to verify your eligibility for other tax credits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

If you’ve already received GST credit payments in the past and want to verify your upcoming GST payment dates, visit your CRA My Account.   

Seeking professional advice from tax experts

It’s always wise to consult with a tax expert after any significant lifestyle change, such as a change in relationship status, purchasing or selling a home, or starting a business. Working with a tax professional ensures you receive the biggest GST returns possible and take advantage of all the tax credits available to you. 

Community organizations offering assistance with tax filing

If you need assistance preparing your income tax return, there may be community organizations that can help. Visit this website to find a free tax clinic in your area. 

Use the GST/HST payment to your advantage

The GST payment may not be enormous, but it’s tax-free money in your pocket. If you’re eligible for GST payments, ensure that your personal income tax filings are up to date so you can receive the benefit payment. Log into your CRA My Account and verify your direct deposit information is current so you can receive the benefit payment promptly.

March 12, 2024
4 minutes