Low Income Seniors Receive Provincial Income Tax Refunds

July 30, 2013

Over 17,000 Nova Scotia seniors will receive a refund of their provincial income tax as part of the province’s commitment to help make life more affordable.

For the third year, the province will refund provincial income tax paid by seniors who also receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

“We owe it to our seniors to ensure their quality of life and peace of mind by providing them with the supports they need,” said Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Since we put this refund program in place three years ago, we’ve put $23.5 million back where it belongs, in the pockets of Nova Scotia seniors.”

This week, more than 17,000 refunds for the 2012 tax year were sent out, providing eligible seniors with an average of $463, and a minimum of $50.

As announced in Budget 2013-14, the number of seniors who will no longer pay provincial income tax will increase to 25,000 in January. Another 4,000 seniors will have a portion of their income tax returned to them.

“Income, or the lack of it, is one of the determinants of health. Leaving more income in the hands of low income seniors has the potential to improve their health and quality of life,” said Anne Corbin, acting executive director of Community Links. “Extra income can mean being able to replace an outdated eyeglass prescription or have grab bars installed in a bathroom.

“In the long run, these measures could prevent a fall, saving the health care system thousands and helping seniors remain independent.”

Seniors do not have to apply for this refund, but they must file a tax return each year. The Department of Finance uses information from tax returns to assess eligibility and to process the refunds.

As tax-return information is received from the Canada Revenue Agency, more cheques will be processed and mailed this fall. Those who did not file a return for the 2012 tax year, but who are eligible, can still receive the refund when they file a tax return.

The department will also be sending cheques to more than 475 seniors for the 2010 and 2011 tax years after receiving additional data from the Canada Revenue Agency.

The province has been working to make life better for Nova Scotia seniors by:

— investing in more home care supports

— reducing drug prices on Pharmacare

— increasing the property tax rebate

— introducing the Affordable Living Tax Credit

— eliminating security deposits for seniors entering nursing homes

— hiring more nurse practitioners for nursing homes

— expanding the Caregiver Benefit Program

— building more affordable housing

The province will also reduce the HST by one percent in 2014 and 2015.