The federal government was more than a week delayed in issuing payments of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit and another key benefit for some lower-income Canadians, according to a tweet by Canada Revenue Agency.
The tax agency was supposed to issue the latest payments of the GST/HST credit and the Ontario Trillium Benefit on April 5 and 6, respectively. But in a tweet last Friday evening, CRA indicated many of those payments went out later.
For recipients who were affected by the delay, “the vast majority” of direct deposit payments for both benefits were issued last Friday, with the remainder going out on Monday, the tax agency tweeted. Canadians who normally receive the benefits by cheque would see the payment “in the days that follow.”
Previous CRA tweets said the delay was because of a “technical issue.” On Twitter, the tax agency acknowledged a problem with both benefit payments on April 6, when it said it would communicate further updates on a government webpage about tax credits and benefits, its portal and social media.
CRA said Tuesday the issue affected two per cent of more than 13 million GST/HST credit and trillium benefit payments. That means more than 260,000 such transactions were delayed.
“The issue has since been identified, rectified, and most Canadians who are signed up for direct deposit received their payment between April 14th and 17th,” CRA spokesperson Hannah Wardell said via email. The tax agency, however, did not say what exactly caused the technical problem.
The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that reimburses Canadians with low and modest incomes for some of the sales taxes they pay. The Ontario Trillium Benefit is a provincial benefit administered by CRA that combines several income support payments for eligible Ontario residents.
Low-income expert John Stapleton called the payment delay “significant.” For Canadians who depend on those refundable tax credits to afford essentials, the glitch likely meant “missing meals,” Mr. Stapleton said.
With grocery pricing climbing at an annual clip of more than 10 per cent, many low-income families are struggling to put food on the table, anti-poverty advocates have warned.
Ottawa announced a top-up of the GST credit, which it dubbed a “grocery rebate,” in the 2023 federal budget. Eligible Canadians can expect to receive the one-time payment after the passage of necessary legislation, CRA said through Twitter.
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