This new benefit is meant to "lift some 315,000 Canadian children out of poverty" by adding to household income, tax-free, for those most in need. It is based on Adjusted Family Net Income, a line item on our tax returns (which doesn't allow for a lot of nuance, I'll concede, but still seems more fair than not).
If you're in the midst of filing this year's tax return, why should you be thinking about next year's return? Well, as I wrote earlier this month, a lot of families are coming in and being caught off guard because the Enhanced UCCB, combined with the disappearance of the amount for children, is putting people in a position where they may owe tax this year.
Only a few weeks into tax season, nearly a quarter of my clients who have children are facing the unwelcome surprise that the Enhanced UCCB, combined with the disappearance of the child amount, is actually putting them in a position where they may owe some tax this year.
From the Canadian Federal election to the collapse of oil prices to a jump in food prices, 2015 was a year of changes. And your tax return is no exception. But unlike previous years, there are only a few changes. However, even small changes can help you save a few tax dollars.
After weeks of waiting, we finally know how the Liberals are starting to roll out their tax-related election promises. The previous government was notorious for introducing last minute, retroactive tax changes that it was hard to predict if the new government would follow suit. And now we have our answers.
While the Child Tax Credit was a nice boost for parents at tax time, you had to have earned enough income to benefit from it. As a non-refundable credit, it meant you had to have paid tax during the year in order to claim it. So a low income family may not have been able to take advantage of the credit. They did not actually benefit from it. This will not be an issue with the enhanced UCCB.
Recent polling suggests the $4 billion in Universal Child Care Benefit cheques the Harper government is mailing out this
Quality, universal childcare is good for kids and it's good for families. It is also good for the economy and the tax base as gainfully employed parents spend their pay cheques and pay taxes. And, access to affordable childcare helps reduce poverty and inequality, meaning that it's good for society.
Both Treasury Board Guidelines and the Ethics Commission state it is inappropriate for a government official to blur the lines between a government and a partisan announcement. However, Minister Pierre Poilievre felt no apparent shame. He was quick to point out that neither the Liberals nor the New Democrats support the UCCB (a half-truth at best). Accordingly, he was not so subtly attempting to persuade an apparently gullible public that only the Conservatives could be trusted to protect families. It's not new for governments to attempt to play politics with taxpayer money; but vote buying has rarely felt more shameless.
Many Canadian families will find they have a bit more money in their pockets this month thanks to the increase in the Universal Child Care Benefit. This will be a pleasant boost to many families' bottom lines! As a dad, I get that there are a myriad of enticing ways to use that money.