Friday, September 14, 2012

Canada Learning Bond - Are Your Children Eligible?

In 2006, only 4.7% of those eligible for the Canada Leaning Bond applied for this FREE money for their children's RESP.  By 2008, it had increased slightly, to 16.3%, and by 2011 had increased to 24.4%.

You can see the totals of the participation rates broken down by province here.

At less than 25% of those eligible participating in the program, the program is still highly unknown.

I think post secondary education is important, so as a tax preparer, this year I am going to try to emphasize this program to my clients who are eligible for it.

Directly from the HRSDC website, the Canada Learning Bond is:

Introduced in 2005, the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) targets low-income families and provides them with a financial incentive to save. Upon applying, the CLB is given to all children who have an RESP account and are eligible to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) in addition to the Canada Child Tax Benefit, commonly known as “family allowance.” The CLB does not require any contributions from parents and is deposited directly into the child’s RESP. Specifically, the Government of Canada provides an initial CLB of $500 to children born after December 31, 2003 plus an additional $100 per year until age 15 and up to a maximum of $2,000.
So...if you receive the National Child Benefit Supplement, your children are eligible for this! Head to your local bank and ask to open an RESP for your children and have them apply for the Canada Learning Bond for you.  The first year you do so, each child will receive $500, and each year after that you still qualify they will receive another $100.

Tell me:  Have you done this already? Are you planning to?  How can you go wrong!?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Baby? Make Sure Your Income Taxes Are Done!

Are you expecting a cute new baby in your life or have a newborn?  Are your income taxes all complete and submitted?

You might be wondering what the connection between these two questions is!

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)  is a payment from the Federal Government to help families with the costs of raising children.  The majority of Canadians are eligible for this program, but you MUST FILE YOUR TAX RETURN TO RECEIVE THEM!

Separate sub-programs that are also included in this payment are the:

1) National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) for lower income families

2) Child Disability Benefit (CDB) for families with children who are disabled and qualify for the Disability Credit.

Also, each province may have programs as well.  In Ontario, there is the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB).

Ok, lets get to what everyone wants to know.

How Much Money Will I Get??

Using the online calculators using 2011 net income, and assuming your children don't have disabilities, here we go.  For children age 6 or under you will also receive $100/month for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), and your amounts will be slightly adjusted from these, as these figures are not including the calculations if you received UCCB in 2011. The amounts include CCTB, NCBS, and Ontario Child Benefit. 

These amounts are for people in Ontario.

Net family income of $100 000/yr will receive$21.59/month for 1 child,   $ 43.18 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 80 000/yr will receive $54.92/month for 1 child,  $109.85 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 60 000/yr will receive $88.26/month for 1 child,  $176.52 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 50 000/yr will receive $104.92/month for 1 child, $209.85 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 40 000/yr will receive $144.60/month for 1 child, $335.95 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 30 000/yr will receive $271.27/month for 1 child, $594.27 for 2 children.
Net family income of  < $ 20 000/yr will receive $390.15/month for 1 child, $759.40 for 2 children.

To get an estimate of your own situation, go to the CRA calculators.

File Your Taxes!

You cannot receive this money unless you have filed your income tax return.  If you havn't filed for a few years and are eligible for these payments, you can go back up to 10 years and file and you will still receive the payments owed to you.