Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Ontario

Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Ontario

April 06, 2010 08:45 ET

Ontario CAs Urge People to Take Advantage of HST Rebates

Ontario CA Institute says filing a tax return more important than ever

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) - The introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) has further increased the importance of filing a 2009 income tax return for Ontarians, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. Ontario Sales Tax Transition Benefit (STTB) payments, which are accessible by most Ontarians, and sales tax credits, geared to help those with lower incomes, are only available to people who file a 2009 return.

"As a matter of principle, CAs are in favour of any change to tax policy that simplifies administration and compliance, while enhancing the competitiveness of business. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that sales tax harmonization advances these goals," said Rod Barr, FCA, Institute President and CEO. "However, the provincial government has taken a number of measures to help ease in the implementation of the HST for Ontarians and we think it's vitally important that people realize that taking advantage of transition payments and sales tax credits requires filing a tax return."

The STTB is a temporary measure to provide relief while Ontarians adjust to the implementation of the HST on July 1, 2010. The STTB has a maximum benefit of $1,000 for families – including single parents – with annual incomes below $160,000, and $300 for individuals with annual incomes below $80,000. It will be paid to eligible Ontario tax filers in three tax-free installments in June 2010, December 2010 and June 2011. Eligibility for the first two payments is determined based on filing a tax return for 2009 and only those filing a 2010 return will be eligible for the June 2011 payment.

In the past, people with lower incomes benefited from sales tax credit when they filed their tax return. That credit will now be paid in quarterly installments. The maximum credit will be $260 per adult and child per year (the credit is income tested). Almost 3 million Ontario residents are eligible for this annual sales tax credit, but they'll only get it if they file a tax return each and every year and claim the federal GST/HST credit. Note that Ontario will issue separate payments for the Ontario credit, and these payments will begin in August 2010. Ontario's property tax credits will be claimed separately, in the same manner as before.

"One of the reasons that the Institute has been organizing Free CA Tax Clinics for more than 40 years has been to serve low-income people who need help preparing tax returns to ensure they receive much-needed tax credits and refunds," said Barr. "Our volunteer CAs and students will once again be working hard to help people with low incomes get everything they deserve, but we realize that not everyone can be accommodated by our clinics.

"With today's harsh economic conditions, no matter who is filling in the return, it's more important than ever that Ontario families and people with lower incomes – whether they're students, seniors or have just fallen on hard times – take advantage of the credits and rebates offered by our tax system. Everyone deserves to get their fair share."

For more information, visit the CRA website's HST section - http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/hrmnztn/on/menu-eng.html.

About the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario is the qualifying and regulatory body of Ontario's 33,000 Chartered Accountants and 5,000 CA students. Since 1879, the Institute has protected the public interest through the CA profession's internationally recognized standards of qualification and the enforcement of its rules of professional conduct. Ontario CAs contribute greatly to international and domestic investor confidence in the soundness of the Ontario and Canadian economies. The Institute's website is: www.icao.on.ca and the student website is www.guidetorulingtheworld.ca.

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