By Radheyan Simonpillai
Many Canadians will have noticed a little extra cushion in their bank accounts thanks to a one-time bump in GST/HST cheques.
GST/HST credits for low- and medium-income individuals and families have been doubled as part of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supplementing other relief measures such as the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the $5.5 billion injection into the economy exactly a month ago—on March 18—when he rolled out the federal emergency aid package. He also announced a $1.9 billion boost to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), early plans for Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the deferral on income tax payments and a moratorium on student loan repayments.
"There are many families across this country who are looking at their sources of income drying up because of COVID-19,” Trudeau said, explaining that additional GST/HST payments will arrive earlier than their originally intended May payment date.
With the bump, maximum amounts for GST/HST payments will increase from $443 to $886 for individuals; $580 to $1,160 for married and common-law; $290 to $580 for a single parent’s first eligible child; and $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 (not including a single parent’s first eligible child).
GST/HST credits are distributed quarterly over the year. The one-time bump is being delivered at once. So if your quarterly payment, like the one issued on April 3, is $72.50, you can expect $290 via a cheque or direct deposit from April 9. The payment amount is based on the family net income from your 2018 tax return.
The GST/HST credits are being delivered to individuals and families who normally get their GST/HST credit. They will automatically receive the one-time special GST/HST credit payment, provided they filed their 2018 income.
(British Columbians voted down the HST in a provincewide referendum, which means they're only eligible for federal GST credits.)
The payments will be made to individuals and families even if they are already receiving CERB, the increased Canada Child Benefit (CCB), and/or the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) for low-income seniors, which has also been doubled for a six-month period for COVID-19 pandemic relief.