28 March 2008

Dear Parents & Mr. Harper

Dear Parents,

You know that $100 cheque -- the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) -- that Mr. Harper sends every month for kids under 6?

Did you know it counts as taxable income? I didn't.

I got a nasty surprise this week when Revenue Canada sent me a reassessment for my 2006 taxes: "We have adjusted your return to include the Universal Child Care Benefit that was paid to you in the year, as reported on the RC62 slip"

When I pulled my tax file, the RC62 slip was not among the paperwork, so I suspect I filed it in with the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) paperwork (I haven't looked there yet -- I was too annoyed) -- that's the payment which is adjusted for income for parents of all children under 18 (when I was a kid, my parents called it the "Baby Bonus") -- I presumed, incorrectly it turns out, that they were administered in a similar manner.

So, anyway, if you counted it as income, you are ahead of me; if you didn't, you may be in for the same surprise.... just thought you should know.


Dear Mr. Harper,

While I understand it's better "optics" to send out a nice round $100 then sort it out later, and while I expect it was in the small print somewhere, I still think it's rather misleading to have two similarly named family benefits but only exempt one from taxes.

Since it took your bean-counters nearly a year to contact me with the adjustment, I can only presume that there are many other parents like me who failed to grasp the fact that this was a taxable benefit that should have been included as income. I see, checking the form, that there was in fact a line to report the UCCB; I am fairly certain that this was omitted from the tax software I had used.

At any rate, I think it is sneaky, especially as this "income" may also change the amount of CCTB, GST credit, and other benefits to which we may have been entitled.

One Very Grumpy Parent in Victoria.

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