CARP welcomes $70 million in tax relief for Ontario Seniors


September 28, 2010

TORONTO, ON: CARP welcomes the Ontario government’s move to provide energy and property tax relief to older Ontarians with $70 million of additional property tax and energy tax credits. Over 740,000 Ontarians will benefit from the enhanced energy and property tax rebates.

CARP has consistently called on the the Ontario government to provide relief for home energy costs for Ontarians who have been hit particularly hard by the combination of the new Harmonized Sales Tax, Time of Use Meters, rising home energy costs, and rising property taxes. Older Ontarians, especially those with low and fixed incomes, have faced escalating home energy costs and those who find it necessary to spend a considerable amount of time in their homes have been the most affected. The additional $70 million dollars in energy and property tax credits announced today will go a long way to mitigating these increased home energy costs.

“CARP members will be pleased that the Ontario government has responded to their call for relief from mounting home energy costs –which were made worse by the new HST and Smart Meter rates. This targeted relief for lower income seniors and moving to include a higher income threshold will be welcome news and directs the relief where it is needed most”, said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP.

In submissions to government, CARP supported its call for relief with the results member polling – of the over 3,700 respondents 69% did not think the one time only rebates and generalized tax relief were enough to offset the added burden of the HST and 86% did not believe that business would pass through their savings. In subsequent polling, CARP members indicated they prioritized relief for home energy costs.

The key change is an increase to the income thresholds at which the energy and property tax credit begins to be phased out for seniors. It is increasing from $20,000 for singles and $25,000 for couples to $25,000 and $30,000 respectively. The phase out rate, which is gradual reduction of a tax credit as a taxpayer approaches the income threshold to qualify for the credit, had already been reduced from 4% to 2% in the 2009 budget.

These two changes combine to grant a greater number of older Ontarians with a full refundable tax credit. The changes provide greater assistance to lower income seniors than they received previously and begin to cover more older Ontarians with moderate income. These changes represent $70 million of additional tax relief and will provide an additional benefit to over 740,000 seniors.

Ontarians over 65 will be able to apply for the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit starting with their 2010 tax returns and stand to receive the tax credit after they file their tax returns. For subsequent years, the tax credit would be paid quarterly, like the new Ontario Sales Tax Credit.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.