The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) is a tax credit in Ontario that provides refunds to residents with low to moderate income. It encompasses several credits, including the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, the Northern Ontario Energy Credit, and the Ontario Sales Tax Credit. Typically, the annual entitlement for the OTB is divided into 12 equal parts, and payments are issued on a monthly basis.
The credits are funded by the province of Ontario, but the responsibility of distributing the payments lies with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). When receiving direct deposit payments, it is common for them to appear in your account activity as “Canada PRO.”
Payment dates for the Ontario Trillium Benefit in the province of Ontario are as follows:
If your benefit is $360 or more:
- You can choose to receive monthly payments, which will be faster. You will receive your money on the following dates:
- January 10, 2024
- February 10, 2024
- March 10, 2024
- April 6, 2024
- May 10, 2024
- June 9, 2024
- July 10, 2024
- August 10, 2024
- September 8, 2024
- October 10, 2024
- November 10, 2024
- December 8, 2024
Alternatively, you can receive a single payment at the end of the benefit year. This payment will be made in July each year, covering the last 12 months of the year.
If your benefit is less than $360, you will only receive a payment in July each year, covering the last 12 months. Monthly payments are not available for benefits below $360.
The Northern Ontario Energy Credit: Eligibility and Credit Amount for 2024
The Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC) is a component of the Ontario Trillium Benefit that aims to assist low- to moderate-income residents of Northern Ontario in coping with the higher energy costs associated with living in the northern region. It should be distinguished from the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC), which helps individuals in Ontario with sales tax on energy and property taxes.
Eligibility for the 2023 Benefit Year: To be eligible for the NOEC in the 2023 benefit year, the following conditions must be met:
- Residency: You must be a resident of Northern Ontario on December 31, 2023.
Qualifying Relationships: By June 1, 2024, you must fulfill one or more of the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have or had a spouse or common-law partner in the past.
- Be a parent who lives or used to live with your child.
It is important to note that eligibility is also determined based on your residence on the 1st day of each month. For example, if you reside in Sudbury on November 1 and subsequently move to London (Southern Ontario) at the end of November, you will receive the November NOEC payment. However, you will not be eligible for any further NOEC payments after that.
Credit Amount: The amount of the NOEC credit varies based on individual circumstances. For single individuals, the credit can reach up to $158. Families, on the other hand, may be eligible for a credit amount of up to $243.
The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC): Providing Assistance to Low- to Moderate-Income Ontario Residents
The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) is a component of the Ontario Trillium Benefit that aims to support low- to moderate-income residents in Ontario with their sales tax on energy and property taxes. It is part of a broader benefit program that includes the Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC) and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC). However, concerns have been raised regarding the calculation methods and eligibility criteria associated with the OEPTC.
Eligibility for the 2023 Benefit Year: To be eligible for the OEPTC in the 2023 benefit year, individuals must meet the following requirements:
- Residency: Reside in Ontario on December 31, 2023.
- Qualifying Relationships: Fulfill at least one of the following criteria before June 1, 2024:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be married or in a common-law relationship.
- Be a parent who lives with or has lived with their child.
Additionally, eligibility is determined based on your residence on the 1st day of each month. If you move out of Ontario on November 10, for example, you will receive the OEPTC payment for that month, but subsequent payments will not be applicable.
Credit Amount: The amount of the OEPTC credit varies based on specific circumstances. The following are the maximum credit amounts based on age and living situation:
- Individuals between 18 and 64 years old: Up to $1,121.
- Individuals over 65 residing on a reserve or in a public long-term care home: An additional $1,277 per year.
- Individuals living on or near a reserve: A supplement of $249.
These amounts represent the maximum credit available, and the actual credit received may be lower based on individual income and other factors.
The Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC): Supporting Ontario Residents with a Maximum Annual Credit of $345
The Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC) is a program designed to provide financial support to Ontario residents. It offers a maximum annual credit of $345 for each adult and each child in a family, based on their 2023 income tax and benefit return. The OSTC is part of the comprehensive Ontario Trillium Benefit, which also includes the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC). Since 2014, individuals no longer need to apply separately for the OSTC, as the Canada Revenue Agency automatically calculates it using information from their income tax return. The OSTC specifically assists low- to moderate-income Ontario residents with the sales tax on energy and property taxes.
Eligibility for the 2024 Benefit Year: To be eligible for the OSTC in the 2024 benefit year, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- Ontario Residency: You must have been a resident of Ontario at some point before June 1, 2025.
- Qualifying Relationships: You must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Be 19 years of age or older.
- Be currently married or have been in a common-law relationship.
- Be a parent who lives with or has lived with your child.
Credit Amount: The OSTC provides a maximum credit of $345. It is important to note that this credit does not affect the amount owed in GST/HST credits.
Additional Credit for Specific Situations: An extra credit can be obtained in the following scenarios:
- If you live with or are in a relationship with another person.
- If, on the first day of each payment month, you have dependent children who are under 19 years old.
These additional credits contribute to further financial support for eligible individuals and families.
Applying for Trillium Benefits in Ontario: Eligibility and Process
In Ontario, there are several Trillium Benefits available to help low- to middle-income families with various expenses. Here’s a breakdown of who can apply for these benefits and how to go about it:
- Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC): The OEPTC assists families in paying for property taxes and GST/HST on electricity. To qualify for this credit, you must meet the following criteria:
- Residency: You must have paid property tax or rent for your main home in Ontario in the previous tax year.
- Specific Circumstances: Eligibility extends to individuals who lived in nursing homes, paid energy costs while living on an Ontario reserve, or resided in specially-designed post-secondary school residences in the previous year.
- Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC): The NOEC provides support to low- and middle-income families facing higher energy costs due to residing in Northern Ontario. To be eligible for this credit, you must meet the following conditions:
- Residency: You must have paid property taxes or rent for your main home in Ontario in the previous tax year.
- Specific Situations: Eligibility includes individuals who paid for living expenses in a nursing home or incurred energy costs while living on a Northern Ontario reserve.
- Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC): The OSTC allows low- to middle-income families to recoup a portion of the GST and HST they paid on goods and services throughout the year. Eligibility for this credit is determined based on your family’s income from the previous year, potentially resulting in a payment without specific eligibility requirements.
Claiming the Ontario Trillium Benefit: The Ontario Trillium Benefit can be claimed regardless of your income level. To receive this benefit, you need to file your tax return. Each time you file your tax return, you can apply for the Trillium Benefits. Eligibility is determined by your family’s income in the previous tax year and may vary due to changes in net income, residential location, age, or family status.
To apply, you can fill out the “ON-BEN” form, which covers both the Ontario Trillium Benefit and the Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant. If you forget to include the ON-BEN form in your tax return, you can make amendments through CRA My Account or by mail. When using TurboTax, the form will be completed as you progress through the provincial section of your tax return.
Conclusion: Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) for Low-Income Families
The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) plays a crucial role in assisting low-income families in Ontario, Canada with essential expenses such as electricity and sales tax. It consolidates three tax credits into a single payment and is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. Specifically, the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) supports low- to middle-income families in paying their property taxes.
Additionally, if you reside with or are in a relationship with an individual aged 19 or older, you may be eligible for an additional credit of up to $345. This extra credit can provide further assistance in managing expenses.
It is important to note that the Ontario Trillium Benefit can be claimed even if you have no income. This benefit specifically addresses the higher energy costs faced by low- and middle-income families residing in Northern Ontario. The Northern Ontario Energy Credit offers financial support to help alleviate these costs. To be eligible for the benefit, your family must have earned sufficient income in the previous year.
By offering financial relief and support, the Ontario Trillium Benefit aims to improve the well-being of low-income families across the province.