Through refundable tax credits, the Province provides relief to low- to moderate-income Ontarians for the taxes and energy costs they face. Through the Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB), the Province transformed the delivery of Ontario’s key refundable tax credits by making payments to Ontarians earlier and more frequently than before. This approach ensures that the payments better match when people incur these costs. In the past, most refundable tax credits were paid once a year, after people filed their tax returns.


Eligible Ontarians received the first of four instalments for the 2011 Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) and Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC) in July. Subsequent payments will be made in December 2011, and March and June 2012. In addition, they received the first two of four instalments of the 2011Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC) in August and November 2011 with more payments coming in February and May 2012.

The Province is providing a total of $2.4 billion each year through the OSTC, OEPTC and NOEC. The payments of these three credits will be combined and delivered monthly as the OTB, starting in July 2012.


You must be eligible for at least one of the OSTC, OEPTC or NOEC to receive the OTB. For more information on eligibility requirements for these credits, visit


To apply, you must complete Ontario Form ON-BEN which is part of the 2011 T1 General Income Tax and Benefit Return package and file it with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The normal deadline for filing individual tax returns is April 30th each year. Failure to file by this deadline may result in delay in receiving OTB payments.


Monthly cheques vs. Direct deposit

If you receive your income tax refund by direct deposit, you will receive your Ontario Trillium Benefit payments by direct deposit if you qualify. Otherwise, you will receive your payments by cheque. You may cash your cheque at many Canadian banks at no cost.
Monthly or lump sum payments

Ontario is listening to people who want more choice in how they receive their Ontario Trillium Benefit payments. The province is exploring options that would allow tax filers, starting next year, to choose between monthly payments or a lump sum. Be sure you file your taxes to get the tax credits you deserve this year.

For this year, the Ontario Trillium Benefit will be paid in 12 instalments, beginning in July. This payment schedule was introduced last year to give people more predictable and more frequent payments to help them manage their monthly bills.

Eligible Ontarians have already received most of the payments for the 2011 Ontario Sales Tax Credit, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit and Northern Ontario Energy Credit. The next payments of these credits will be made in May and June 2012.

To apply for this monthly benefit, eligible Ontarians need to file a personal income tax return – even if they did not earn any income.



Illustrative Examples (Using 2011 Credit Amounts)

Example 1:

A single parent with one child and adjusted net income of $20,000 paying $629 per month in rent would receive a total of $936 from the OSTC and OEPTC over eight payments. Under the proposed OTB, the single parent would receive 12 equal monthly payments.


 2012 2013   
  Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Total
Current ($) 133 101 133 101 133 101 133 101 936
OTB ($) 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 78 936


Example 2:

A senior couple with adjusted family net income of $35,000 paying $1,200 per month in rent would receive a total of $984 from the OSTC and OEPTC over eight payments. Under the proposed OTB, the couple would receive 12 equal monthly payments.

 2012  2013  
  Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Total
Current ($) 37 209 37 209 37 209 37 209 984
OTB ($) 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 82 984

Example 3:

A family of four with adjusted family net income of $25,000 paying $920 per month in rent would receive a total of $1,536 from the OSTC and OEPTC over eight payments. Under the proposed OTB, the family would receive 12 equal monthly payments.

2012  2013   
  Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Total
Current ($) 265 119 265 119 265 119 265 119 1,536
OTB ($) 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 128 1,536

For more information, please go to:

Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan is moving our province to clean sources of power while shutting down coal plants that pollute the air we breathe. Upgrading and modernizing our energy infrastructure is helping to provide reliable power to our homes and businesses. Building more clean energy is also creating thousands of jobs for Ontarians in a growing renewable energy industry, supplying the solar, wind, bio-energy and hydro-electric markets.

To help you with the increased costs of these essential investments during this period of transition, the Ontario government is providing a 10% rebate off your total electricity bill – including electricity costs, regulatory charges, the debt retirement charge and taxes.

You will receive the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on every bill for the next five years as our province continues to build our clean energy future. The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit applies to electricity charges incurred as of January 1, 2011.

Through the 2010 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the government is taking action today to help Ontarians who are feeling the pinch of rising costs and electricity prices. The Ontario government is proposing direct relief through a new Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB).

For eligible consumers, the proposed OCEB would provide a benefit equal to 10 per cent of the total cost of electricity on their bills including tax, effective January 1, 2011. Due to the length of time required to amend bills, these price adjustments would appear on electricity bills no later than May 2011, and would be retroactive to January 1, 2011.

Eligible consumers include residential, farm, small business and other small users. The proposed OCEB would help over four million residential consumers and over 400,000 small businesses, farms, and other consumers with the transition to a reliable and cleaner electricity system as more investment in transmission and supply capacity is brought online to support the province.

The following table provides examples of the impact the proposed OCEB would have on monthly electricity bills.

Table 1
Benefits for Eligible Customers
(Monthly Consumption)
Current Estimated Monthly Bill Estimated Bill after Ontario Clean Energy Benefit Monthly Benefit1 (10%) Yearly Benefit1 (10%)
Typical Residential
800 kWh
$128 $115.20 $12.80 $153.60
Small Business
10,000 kWh
$1,430 $1,287 $143 $1,716
12,000 kWh
$1,710 $1,539 $171 $2,052
  • 1 Typical 2011 monthly benefit for a consumer. Benefit amount will vary based on actual price, consumption and location.
  • Source: Ontario Ministry of Energy.


Click here for a sample of how the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit might look on your bill (utility bills vary in style from community to community). Scroll down to see Frequently Asked Questions about the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

For more information, call 1-888-668-4636.

What is the first-time home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC)?

The HBTC is a non-refundable tax credit for certain homebuyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009, that is – closing after this date.

How is the HBTC calculated?

The HBTC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2009) by $5,000. For 2009, the credit will be $750. However, if the total of your non-refundable tax credits is more than your federal income tax, you will not receive a refund for the HBTC.

What is a qualifying home?

A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada. This includes existing homes and those being constructed. Single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, as well as apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and apartment buildings all qualify. A share in a co-operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and gives you an equity interest in, a housing unit located in Canada also qualifies. However, a share that only provides you with a right to tenancy in the housing unit does not qualify.

Also, you must intend to occupy the home or you must intend that the related person with a disability occupy the home as a principal place of residence no later than one year after it is acquired.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, go to or call us at 1-800-959-8281.

Keep an audit trail

An audit trail is nothing more than a record of all your invoices and checks in numeric order. The thing to remember is never skip numbers. Record voided checks and invoice numbers in numeric order with all other checks and invoices, only denote each one that is “voided”. This assures there will be no gaps in your numerical sequence and leaves a proper audit trail.

Always keep all your receipts, no matter how small the amount and make sure they are legible. Receipts you must keep include debit receipts and credit card receipts.

Be Consistent

Consistency is essential to successful business bookkeeping. If you use manual bookkeeping system, the double entry system is the best system to use. Always be sure to head your columns the same way each month throughout the year. This small matter of consistency will save you and your accountant time and aggravation.

Keep Good Records

Many business owners don’t keep good records. Some don’t understand bookkeeping; others understand it, but may be afraid of what the numbers might tell them. Think of it this way – – bookkeeping is the glue that keeps your business together. If your records are not in good shape, the business could fall apart. A healthy business is monitored through its records on a regular basis so you can find problems and correct them before it’s too late.

Deposit Books

How do you handle your bank deposits? One easy way is to record your daily deposit in a deposit book. Generally, these books come with a white (original) copy, yellow (duplicate) and pink copy for triplicate. As you write each deposit ticket, it is a good idea to remove the white copy to give to the bank and leave the duplicate(yellow) in the book. That way nothing gets lost. You should always provide a copy of all deposit slips to your bookkeeper.

Get into the habit of depositing all cash immediately at the bank once it is received. All deposits must match your Sales.

Bank Account Statements

When opening a business checking account, you should request a statement and cancelled cheques with a month-end cut-off date. This will save you time when reconcilling your records with the bank statement every month. The closer the cut-off date to the month end, the fewer checks you will need to record as outstanding.

And don’t toss those bank statements and canceled checks into a filing cabinet without reviewing them. Resist the urge to do this! As soon as your statement arrives, review it before anyone else sees it, including your bookkeeper or employees. That way you can catch unauthorized checks. You should always reconcile your bank statement either manually or computerized.

Petty Cash Box

Almost all small business make small cash purchases. You may want to set up a Petty Cash Box to keep control of those purchases. Get yourself a metal cash box and put in currency and coin that totals $100.00, for example.. This will be your starting point. The value of this box should remain at $100.00 at all times. Perhaps you or your employee purchases a notebook at the local office supply store for $5.00, using money from the Petty Cash Box. When you get back to the office you will put your receipt in th box. Now you should have $95.00 in currency and one receipts for $5.00. The value of your box is still $100.00. You can continue using the Petty Cash Box until you run out of cash. Then replenish the box by writing a check for “Cash”, expensing all the receipts, and cashing the check at the bank. After you cash the check, the new currency and coin go into the Petty Cash Box, so you’ll be starting again with $100.00 in the box.

Storage Boxes for Each New Year

Keep all your records for one year in one box. You can put a copy of your tax return, bank account statements with cancelled checks, receipts, financial statements from your accountant/bookkeeper, your paid bills and all other backup for that year in one box. Label it with the year and contents on the outside of the box. Then store it somewhere accessible.

Filing Paid Invoices

Start new file folders at the beginning of each year for all your paid invoices and paid bills. It’s not necessary to start a folder for each customer or vendor unless you do a large volume of business with that customer. You could get by with a folder for all customers from A-C, D-F, and so on.

Printing Invoices

If your books are computerized always print 2 copies of invoices one for your books, one for your client. Computerized invoices can be customized to suit your business. If you decide to print invoices with a perforated edge so customers can tear off one portion and return it with their payment, be sure to print your name and “remit to” address on both sides of the perforation.

From Paper System to Computer Program

The best time to go from a paper bookkeeping system to a computerized system is right after you completed a Year End using the accountants Year End Trial Balance.

Always keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. Don’t give the tax auditor a reason to audit both.

File all your tax compliance reports on time to avoid penalties, even if you can’t pay the amount owing

Keep organized by

  • developing a method for handling all your paperwork;
  • entering your bookkeeping data in batches; and
  • reviewing your bank statement and financial reports monthly.

Keep track of what you spend

Keep and sort your receipts for purchases. Create some type of system to sort receipts–date and function are two options–so you can find receipts if needed. You may seperate these receipts into accounts to keep track of income and expenses for particular customers or projects. Record these receipts in your ledger–on paper or computer, so you have a running total of your expenses.