The ON-BEN form is used to claim the Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) and Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant (OSHPTG). Both the OTB and OSHPTG are designed to help low- to moderate-income Ontario residents offset the cost of the energy sales tax, property tax, and more.
If you’re a resident of Ontario on December 31, you can use the ON-BEN form to claim the following:
- A tax grant for senior homeowners that helps offset your property taxes (OSHPTG)
- The property tax (or rent) and home energy costs (such as electricity and heat) you paid in the year for your home (including a public or private long-term care home) in Ontario
- The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) entitlement (includes Ontario Sales Tax Credit*, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, and Northern Ontario Energy Credit)
- You no longer need to complete the ON-BEN form to claim the Ontario Sales Tax Credit. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will use the information from your return to see if you’re eligible for this tax credit and inform you accordingly. For all other benefits under the OTB, you’ll need to complete this form.
To receive your OTB and/or OSHPTG payments for 2019, you’ll need to complete the ON-BEN form as part of your 2018 tax return. The information you provide on your 2018 return will determine how much you’ll get for these benefits.
What is the Ontario Trillium Benefit?
The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) is a refundable tax credit that helps Ontarians with their energy costs and provides relief from sales and property tax. The OTB is made up of three tax credits:
- Ontario Sales Tax Credit
- Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit
- Northern Ontario Energy Credit
Your OTB payments are based on your previous year’s income. If you’re entitled to an annual amount of $360 or more, you can choose to receive the benefit either in monthly payments or get a single payment at the end of the benefit year; otherwise you'll receive a single payment in July. Keep in mind, you won’t receive a payment if your annual OTB amount is $2 or less.
In order to receive the OTB, you’ll need to:
- Meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of the three benefits of the OTB
- File your tax return each year and
- Apply for the OTB each year by completing and filing form ON-BEN with your return
Note: Any residence that isn’t subject to municipal and school tax doesn’t qualify for this benefit. If you paid rent for a subsidized housing unit, check with the landlord to find out if property tax was paid for the unit before you enter the rent you paid for 2018 on the OTB page in the software. If you paid rent for a private long-term care home and your receipt doesn’t break down the cost of the room and board (example, meals and laundering), you can claim up to 75% of your total rent.
Ontario Sales Tax Credit
You don’t need to apply for the Ontario Sales Tax Credit. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will use the information from your return to see if you’re eligible for this tax credit and inform you accordingly.
Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit
- You or someone on your behalf paid:
- rent or property tax for your home
- accommodation costs for living in a public long-term care home
- home energy costs (for example, electricity, heat) for your home on a reserve OR
- You lived in a designated university, college, or private school residence (Click this link to see a list of designated universities, colleges, or private school residences. If your school is on this list, answer Yes to the question Did you live in a designated university, college, or private school residence in Ontario in 2018?, on the Trillium benefit(ON) page in the tax software.)
Note: If you have a spouse or a common-law partner, only one of you can claim the Ontario Energy and Property amount for both of you.
Northern Ontario Energy Credit
You can claim the Northern Ontario Energy Credit if:
- You lived in Northern Ontario on December 31
- At the beginning of the payment month, you’re at least 18 years of age, or have or previously had a spouse, or are a parent who lives or previously lived with your child, and
- You or someone on your behalf paid:
- Rent or property tax for your home
- Accommodation costs for living in a public long-term care home
- Home energy costs (for example, electricity, heat) for your home on a reserve
For the purposes of the Northern Ontario Energy Credit, the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury (including the City of Greater Sudbury), Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming are considered eligible Northern Ontario locations.
How much do I get in OTB and what is the payment schedule?</h4
Your OTB payments are based on your previous year’s income and depend on your:
- Residence location
- Family size
- Amount of property tax or rent (which you’ve paid)
For the 2019 benefit year, if:
- You’re entitled to an annual amount of $360 or more, you can choose to receive the benefit either in monthly payments starting July 2019 or get a single payment at the end of the benefit year in June 2020.
- If you’re entitled to an amount of less than $360, you will receive a single payment in July 2019.
Keep in mind, you won’t receive a payment if your annual OTB amount is $2 or less.
You can claim up to $500 (depending on your adjusted family income) in Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant if:
- You or your spouse paid Ontario property tax in the previous year
- You meet the income requirements and
- As of December 31 of the previous year, you:
- were 64 years of age or older
- were a resident of Ontario and
- owned and lived in your home (or your spouse did)
Note: You might also qualify for the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit. Refer to the Ontario Trillium Benefit section above for more information.
Where do I claim these benefits?
- If you are filing a coupled return with your spouse, and you are both under the age of 64, only one spouse can apply for these credits. The file who wants to apply for the credit(s) should be the one to add it to their return.
- If you are filing a coupled return with your spouse, and only one of you is over the age of 64 years, that filer is the one who should see and claim the ON-BEN credit(s).
- If you are filing a coupled return with your spouse, but you were separated for medical reasons during the tax year, both you and your spouse can apply for the ON-BEN credits.
- If you’re filing an uncoupled return and you indicated that your spouse is 64 years of age or older, you won’t be able to access the ON-BEN page in your return.
Before you begin, make sure you tell us you lived in Ontario on December 31, 2018.
- Under the PREPARE tab, click the MOST POPULAR icon. You’ll find yourself here:
Select the checkbox labelled Ontario trillium benefit and Ontario senior homeowners’ property tax grant (ON-BEN) then click Continue.
- When you arrive at the page for the ON-BEN form, answer the questions that apply to you and provide a few details about your principal residence in the designated fields of the tax software.
Note: To save you time, our software doesn’t require you to enter to whom you paid rent or your address, because that information is not required to be transmitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with your tax return. However, if the CRA asks you for this information at a later date, you have to provide it to them by completing and returning the ON-BEN form, on the T1 General - Application for the 2018 Ontario Trillium Benefit and Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant.