GST/HST Credits

I already left Canada and I am still receiving money from the tax agency!

You filed your tax return in Canada as a resident for tax purposes? After you left Canada, you received extra payments (in addition to your tax refund) every quarter? If you still receive money from the tax agency after leaving, one step has been left out:

After returning home, you had to report your exit date and change the new address in the CRA online account so that they don’t automatically send you extra cheques with money that you have to pay back later anyway.

A brief overview of the GST/HST credits:

  • The GST credit is a tax-free payment for low-income earners.
  • It is granted automatically when you submit the tax return as a “resident for income tax purposes”.
  • You don’t have to apply for it separately.
  • The calculation of the GST credit is based on the total world income for the previous year.
  • The first payment always starts in July.
  • You are only eligible for the GST credit as long as you are a resident in Canada in the month before the CRA makes a payment and at the beginning of the month the CRA makes a payment. 
  • The GST credit is paid quarterly. (July, October, January, April)

If you filed your tax return for the 2022 tax year, the worldwide income from 2022 was used for the calculation of the amount of GST/HST credit. The four payments then were:

  • July 2023
  • October 2023
  • January 2024
  • April 2024

Why do I have to pay back the GST credits?

As mentioned above, the GST credit is only available as long as you are in Canada.

Since you left Canada during the tax year, you are no longer eligible for the GST credit after departure. When submitting the tax return as a “resident” you must report the departure date, then the tax agency will automatically determine what amount you have to pay back and send you a repayment request letter. Wait for this letter first. 

Here is the clarification for the tax year and when you left:

  • Left between January – June ==> no GST credit 
  • Left between July – September ==> you are only eligible for the payment July
  • Left between October – December ==> you are only eligible for the payments July + October

I received cheques, but I haven't cashed them yet, what do I do?

My recommendation is to cash the cheques anyway, because the cheque might include months that you are actually entitled to.

If you then submit a tax return for the year of your departure from Canada, the tax agency will automatically calculate the amount of the GST/HST. Depending on when you left, you have to pay back all or only a part of it.

You will then receive a letter with the exact statement of these GST/HST credits and the request to pay the amounts back. Very often, the tax agency offsets the outstanding amounts against the tax refund. This means your tax refund will be lower. 

I have to repay the GST credits, what options do I have?

If you still have the Canadian bank account open, > this is how you repay via online banking < You have to “add a payee”. You should find the “GST/HST credit repayment” payee. Your 9-digit social insurance number is your account number with that payee. 

If you no longer have a Canadian account, there is a third party recommended by the CRA where you can pay by credit card. However, fees apply. If you’re no longer in Canada, this option is the only one. 

PaySimply is recommended by the CRA and these are the steps to click:

  • Individual Taxes
  • Benefits
  • Enter your SIN and complete the payment.