Millions of Canadians receive payments each month from the federal government and for younger Canadians, especially families with children, such payments will often include the monthly Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
The current (2018-19) benefit year for the CCB runs from July to June and so the first payment of the that benefit year, was received by Canadian families on July 20. For some recipients, that payment may have been in a different amount than previous months, while others may not have received any benefit payment at all.
The reasons for such occurrences are two-fold. First, the amount of CCB payable is based on a family’s net income. For the first half of the year, the amount of payment is based on income from the second previous taxation year. So, eligibility for and the amount of any CCB paid during the January to June 2018 period was based on family net income for 2016. For the July to December 2018 period, the amount of benefits which a family can receive is based on that family’s net income for the 2017 tax year.
Of course, the only means by which the federal government can determine a family’s net income for 2017 (and consequently their entitlement to CCB) is from tax returns filed for that year. Where no tax returns have yet been filed for 2017, there will have been no CCB benefit paid in July of 2018. Taxpayers who have not yet filed for 2017 but who believe that they are eligible for CCB should file as soon as possible. Once the return(s) are filed and assessed, and the family is determined to be eligible for CCB benefits during the 2018-19 benefit year, such benefits will be paid retroactively, back to July 2018.
Where a family received CCB during the first half of 2018, and there was a change in family net income between 2016 an 2017, then the amount of CCB received in July 2018 will differ (up or down, depending on whether income increased or decreased from 2016 to 2017) from that received in June.
There is an additional reason why families may see a changed CCB benefit starting in July 2018. In 2016, the federal government announced that CCB benefits would be indexed to inflation beginning in July 2020. However, that implementation date was moved up to July 2018, so benefits are fully indexed to changes in the Consumer Price Index as of that date.
Taxpayers who want to confirm that the amount of their CCB benefit for the 2018-19 benefit year is correct can go to CRA website at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-we-calculate-your-ccb.html, where the calculation of the CCB is outlined. Or, an explanation of the benefits received can be had by calling the Agency’s Benefits Enquiries toll-free phone line at 1-800-387-1193. The hours of service for that phone line are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.