The Ontario Trillium Benefit (“OTB”) is a financial assistance program provided by the government of Ontario to help lower-income individuals and families with the costs of energy, property taxes, and sales tax credits. The OTB combines three separate tax credits: the Northern Ontario Energy Credit (“NOEC”), Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (“OEPTC”), and Ontario Sales Tax Credit (“OSTC”). By combining these three separate tax credit components into one payment, the OTB simplifies receiving these funds for recipients.
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Understanding the Three Components of OTB
As discussed above, the OTB consists of three component tax credits: the Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC), Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC), and Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC). Each credit serves a specific purpose and has its own eligibility criteria. To be clear, if you receive an OTB payment, it could be for all three credits (if you qualify for all three), or it could be for just one of the component credits mentioned above (because you only qualified for one of the three component credits). This way, OTB payments are not the same for everyone in Ontario.
How Much is the OTB payment?
It is impossible to say how much your OTB payment will be. That is like answering how much your tax return will be. If you want to find out how much exactly you will receive from the OTB tax credit, you will need to calculate how much you receive for each of the three component credits, as discussed below. To be clear, how much you receive for your OTB payment depends on your eligibility and personal calculations for all three component credits, including factors concerning income, location, family size, relationship and how much you paid in taxes last year.
Am I Eligible To Get the OTB? (Income Threshold)
The OTB does not have a single eligibility or income requirement because it combines three different benefits. Thus, click on the links to see if you can receive a payment for at least one of the three credit components mentioned earlier to get the OTB:
- The Ontario energy and property tax credit
- The Northern Ontario energy credit
- The Ontario sales tax credit
Here’s a breakdown of each of the three OTB component credits…
1. Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC)
The NOEC is designed to help residents of Northern Ontario with higher home energy costs. This credit is tax-free and available to those living in specific regions of Northern Ontario, such as Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming. To be eligible for the NOEC, individuals must be a resident of Northern Ontario on December 31 of the previous year and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- 18 years of age or older
- Have or previously had a spouse or common-law partner
- A parent who lives or previously lived with their child
Calculating your NOEC payment: Use this calculation sheet.
2. Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC)
The OEPTC is a tax-free payment aimed at helping Ontario residents with property taxes and sales tax on energy costs. The credit is broken down into property tax and sales sub-components, and you could only be eligible for one of two.
This credit is available to residents of Ontario who meet specific eligibility criteria based on age, marital status, and parental status. To qualify for the OEPTC, individuals must be residents of Ontario on December 31 of the previous year and meet specific age, marital status, and parental status requirements.
You may be eligible for the energy sub-component if:
- you were a resident of Ontario on December 31, and one of the following conditions applies:
- you will be 18 years of age or older before June 1 of teh next year,
- you had a spouse or common-law partner on or before December 31 of the year before
- you are a parent who lives or previously lived with your child
You may be eligible for the property tax sub-component if:
- You were a resident of Ontario on December 31 of the previous year, and one of the following conditions applies:
- you will be 18 years of age or older before June 1 of teh next year
- you had a spouse or common-law partner on or before December 31 of the previous year
- you are a parent who lives or previously lived with your child
Calculating the OEPTC: Use this calculator.
3. Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC)
The OSTC is designed to help Ontarians with the sales tax they pay on goods and services. This payment is available to all Ontario residents. To qualify for the OSTC, individuals must be residents of Ontario on December 31 of the previous year. The amount of money individuals receive for the OSTC will be determined by their relationship status, number of children and income.
Calculating OSTC: Only lower-income Ontarians receive the OSTC. In 2023, if you are a single individual with no children, the credit will be reduced by 4% of your adjusted net income over $24,916. If you are a single parent or are married or living in a common-law relationship, the credit will be reduced by 4% of your adjusted family net income over $31,144. Hence, only low-income Ontarians receive this benefit. Check here for updated calculations for every new year.
Applying for the Ontario Trillium Benefit
To apply for the OTB, individuals must file their personal income tax and benefit return and complete the ON-BEN Application Form included in their tax return package. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine eligibility based on the information provided in the tax return. It is essential to file the tax return even if there is no income to report.
OTB Payment Methods and Schedules
The OTB payments are typically made through direct deposit or by mail. If you receive your income tax refund via direct deposit, your OTB payments will be deposited directly into your bank account. If you do not use direct deposit for your tax refund, you will receive your OTB payments by mail on or around the 10th of each month.
For the 2023 benefit year, if you qualify, this is how you will be paid the OTB, depending on how much you ought to receive:
- More than $360, you will have a choice between:
- a. Monthly payments starting July 2023
- b. A single payment in June 2024 (You get the same total amount regardless of which option you choose)
- $360 or less, you will receive a single payment in July 2023
- More than $2 but less than $10, it will be increased to $10
- $2 or less, you will not receive a payment
OTB 2023 Payment Dates
|Month||OTB Payment Date|
|January||January 10, 2023|
|February||February 10, 2023|
|March||March 10, 2023|
|April||April 6, 2023|
|May||May 10, 2023|
|June||June 9, 2023|
|July||July 10, 2023|
|August||August 10, 2023|
|September||September 8, 2023|
|October||October 10, 2023|
|November||November 10, 2023|
|December||December 8, 2023|
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for the OTB payment? You must meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of the three tax credit components (NOEC, OEPTC, OSTC). Review the eligibility requirements for each credit and file your personal Income Tax and Benefit Return with the ON-BEN Application Form to check every year!
Q: What if I file my tax return late? If you file your tax return late, you can still receive the OTB payment, but the payment(s) will be delayed.
Q: Can I receive the OTB payment if I’m married or have a common-law partner? Both you and your spouse or common-law partner can apply for the OTB payment, but only one will receive it, and the payment will be the same no matter who applies. The OTB payment is made to the person in the couple whose income tax return is assessed first. In this way, each couple only gets one payment.
The Ontario Trillium Benefit is a financial assistance program for lower-income individuals and families in Ontario. Combining three separate tax credits (NOEC, OEPTC, OSTC) into one payment simplifies the process. If you believe you qualify for the OTB, file your personal income tax and benefit return with the ON-BEN application form in your tax return to apply for this payment.
Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.