Albertans Benefit from Program Payment Changes

By Gateway Gazette

May 18

Proposed legislation introduced today would ensure the carbon levy rebate and benefits from two programs do not have to be returned when a family member passes away.

Minister Ceci introduces the Tax Statutes Amendment Act

If passed, the Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2017, would change the way rebates are paid to Albertans so that families are no longer asked to repay amounts if a death in the household changes their eligibility for the program.

If the legislation is passed, the government will also make similar changes to the Alberta Child Benefit and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) programs so that families do not have to pay back benefits as a result of a death in the household.

“The loss of a loved one is a tragedy for any family and the last thing they need is a letter that adds further stress. That’s why we are taking action so that families who lose a loved one do not have to repay rebates or child benefit payments. This is an important, practical change that will make a difference for Alberta families.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

The government will also waive the recovery of the carbon levy rebate, Alberta Child Benefit and AFETC payments received between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2017 for households whose eligibility changed due to a death.

Families who received a reassessment notice due to a death would not have to repay the amount. Amounts would be returned to families who already repaid the Canada Revenue Agency.

The proposed legislation would lower the minimum carbon levy rebate to $25 from $100. A household entitled to a total annual rebate of $150 would then receive quarterly payments of $37.50, for example, instead of a single prepayment of the full amount. If a death in the household reduces the amount they are eligible to receive, future payments may be reduced but the family would not need to repay any amounts already received.

If passed, the Tax Statutes Amendment Act would also implement tax credits for Alberta political party leadership contests and nomination races. It would also enact changes to maintain consistency with federal tax legislation.

Quick facts

  • Approximately 1.2 million carbon levy rebate payments have been issued since Jan. 1, for a total of approximately $150 million.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency administers the rebate on behalf of the Alberta government.
  • Eligibility is based on household income and the number of people in the home and is calculated using personal income tax return information.
  • The benefit year runs from July to June (e.g., July 2017 to June 2018) following the tax-filing deadline.
  • July rebate payments will reflect information from 2016 tax returns instead of 2015 filings.
  • If approved, the new $25 minimum payment rule would come into effect in July 2017, when the new benefit year begins.
  • Rebates are issued in July, October, January and April.
  • The minimum rebate entitlement remains at $100 per year. Rebates for less than that amount over the year will not be paid.
  • Households can estimate their carbon levy rebate entitlement by visiting the online calculator.

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