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Taxes and Benefits

Can sponsors get tax receipts?

According to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) funds donated directly to individuals or families for the purposes of refugee sponsorship do not qualify for tax receipts. Any funds donated by co-sponsors, friends and relatives, or community donors for the benefit of a specific individual or family for the purposes of refugee sponsorship are considered to be acts of private benevolence, and according to CRA guidelines, do not qualify for a tax receipt.

Is a sponsored refugee able to receive social assistance or social welfare in Canada?

Sponsored refugees are not eligible for Ontario Works benefits or subsidized housing for the duration of the sponsorship.

In addition, sponsored refugees are not able to apply for any social assistance or social welfare for the duration of the sponsorship.

What tax benefits is a sponsored refugee able to receive in Canada?

Sponsored refugees become Permanent Residents once they arrive in Canada.

As permanent residents of Canada sponsored refugees are entitled to apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement, the Child Disability Benefit, the Universal Child Care Benefit, the GST/HST credit and the Ontario Child Benefit.

Do sponsored refugees have to file a tax return?

As permanent residents of Canada, sponsored refugees must file a tax return for part or all of a tax year (January 1 to December 31) if they:

  • Have to pay tax; or,
  • Want to claim a refund.

Even if newcomers have not received income in the year, they have to file a tax return so that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can determine if they are eligible for:

  • The GST/HST credit;
  • The Canada Child Tax Benefit; and,
  • Payments from certain Ontario programs.

For more information and instructions on how to file a tax return, sponsors and sponsored refugees can go to the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/newcomers/#tbc

What is the Canada Child Tax Benefit and how do sponsored refugees apply for it?

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.

The CCTB may include the:

  • National Child Benefit Supplement;
  • Child Disability Benefit; and,
  • Related Ontario programs (e.g. the Ontario Child Benefit).

The CRA uses information from the sponsored refugee’s income tax and benefit return to calculate their CCTB payments. Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that in order to get the CCTB, they have to file their tax return on time every year, even if you they do not have income in the year. Sponsors should further advise that if they have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to file a return every year.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that the CCTB is paid over a 12-month period from July of one year to June of the next year, and that the benefit payments will be recalculated every July based on information from their income tax and benefit return from the previous year.

For more information on the CCTB and to apply, sponsors and sponsored refugees can go to the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cctb/

What is the Universal Child Care Benefit and how do sponsored refugees apply for it?

The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was introduced in 2006 as a taxable benefit designed to help Canadian families, as they try to balance work and family life, by supporting their child care choices through direct financial support.

On January 1, 2015, the UCCB was enhanced to include a new benefit for children aged 6 through 17, and the payments that parents receive for children under the age of 6 were increased.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that they may be eligible for the UCCB. To apply for the UCCB, sponsors and sponsored refugees can go to the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/uccb/

What is the Child Disability Benefit and how do sponsored refugees apply for it?

The Child Disability Benefit (CDB) is a tax-free benefit for families who care for a child under age 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.

A sponsored refugee’s child is eligible for the disability tax credit when a medical practitioner certifies, on Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, that the child has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) approves the form.

The CDB is paid monthly to Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) eligible individuals and also as a supplement to the Children’s Special Allowances (CSA).

To apply for the CDB, sponsors and newcomers can go to the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cdb/

GST/HST Credit

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees of the GST/HST credit. The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay.

Sponsored refugees do not have to apply for the GST/HST credit. The CRA will automatically determine their eligibility when they file their next income tax and benefit return.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that if they have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of them can receive the credit. The credit will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. The amount will be there same, regardless of who (in the couple) receives it.

For more information on the GST/HST credit, sponsors and sponsored refugees can go to the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/gsthst/menu-eng.html

What is the Ontario Child Benefit and how do sponsored refugees apply for it?

The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) provides direct financial support to low- and moderate-income families – whether they are working or not. It helps parents with the cost of raising their children. Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees of the OCB, as they may be eligible for it.

The sponsored refugee may qualify for OCB, if they:

  • Are the primary caregiver of a child under 18;
  • Are a resident of Ontario;
  • Have filed and had assessed your previous year’sincome tax return, and so has your spouse or common-law partner; and
  • Have registered your child for the federal Canada Child Tax Benefit.

There is no application for the OCB. The CRA will automatically review the sponsored refugee’s eligibility once they and their spouse/common law partner’s income tax returns from the previous year are assessed and have registered their child for the Canada Child Tax Benefit.

If the sponsored refugee is eligible, the Ontario Child Benefit is included with Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefit Supplement monthly payments.

For more information, sponsors and sponsored refugees can go to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services Website: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/financialhelp/ocb/index.aspx

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