Low-income workers: Solidarity tax credit

This page shows you the credits you can claim if your income is low, such as the solidarity tax credit and the work premium tax credits.

Frank is a salaried employee who works for minimum wage

Frank is 23 and lives alone in an apartment. He has no spouse or children. He has a full-time job in retail and earns $25,000/year. A friend told him about a tax credit he could get every month, but he’s not sure if he’s eligible. He would like someone to help him do his taxes, because he finds them too complicated to do himself.

With his low-income and simple tax situation, Frank can have a volunteer file his tax return for free under the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program. He’s also eligible for the solidarity tax credit.

Q&A — Frank
  • Frank's never claimed the solidarity tax credit. How can he get it?

    To get the full amount of the tax credit he’s entitled to, Frank must file his tax return and Schedule D. He must also sign up for direct deposit. If he’s eligible for the credit but doesn’t complete Schedule D, he’ll only get part of the credit (the basic amount of the QST component).

    Learn more
  • Frank has never claimed the solidarity tax credit before. Can he claim it now for past years?

    Maybe. He can claim the credit up to four years after the end of the taxation year used to calculate the credit. For example, if he forgot to claim the credit for the period from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, when he did his taxes for 2017, he has until December 31, 2021 to do so.

    Learn more
  • What requirements does Frank have to meet to be eligible for the solidarity tax credit?

    Generally speaking, Frank must:

    • be 18 or over
    • live in Québec
    • be a Canadian citizen or have a recognized residence status
    • file his tax return
    • sign up for direct deposit (if he hasn’t already)
    Learn more
  • How is the solidarity tax credit calculated?

    To calculate Frank’s tax credit, Revenu Québec will add up the amounts he’s entitled to under the three components:

    • the QST component
    • the housing component
    • the component for individuals living in a northern village

    The result may be reduced based on Frank’s family income.

    For an estimate of his tax credit payments, Frank can use this tool on Revenu Québec’s website.

    Learn more
  • How can Frank sign up for direct deposit?

    He can sign up in one of the following ways:

    • online in My Account for individuals
    • online through his financial institution (if it offers such a service)
    • by enclosing a voided cheque with his name and social insurance number on it with his tax return
    • by completing form LM-3-V, Request for Direct Deposit, and either mailing it to Revenu Québec or enclosing it with his tax return
    Learn more

Nadia just got off social assistance and has a very low-income

Nadia is 32 and lives alone in an apartment. She was on social assistance until January 2020, when she got a part-time job as a cashier in a supermarket. She expects to earn about $19,000 in 2020. A friend told her about some tax credits and amounts she could get. She can’t afford to see an accountant, but she wants to make sure she gets all the tax credits she’s entitled to.

Nadia is eligible for the work premium tax credits—the work premium, adapted work premium and supplement to the work premium—which help people who are new to the job market. She’s also eligible for the solidarity tax credit. To get them, Nadia will have to file her income tax return. However, she can have a volunteer do it for free under the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program

Q&A — Nadia
  • What conditions does Nadia have to meet to be eligible for the work premium tax credits?

    To be eligible, Nadia must meet the basic conditions. Her work income for the year must also be over $2,400 (if she had a spouse, the minimum would be $3,600). There are also limits on family income depending on a person’s situation (single, childless couple, couple with one or more children or single parent).

    Learn more
  • How can Nadia claim the work premium?

    To get the full amount of the tax credit she’s entitled to, Nadia must file her tax return and Schedule P. She can also apply for advance payments of the credit. She can find out how on Revenu Québec’s website.

    Learn more
Are you in the same situation as Nadia? Here are some tools that can help you.

Jane has two kids with her partner Ryan and is a stay-at-home mom

Jane and Ryan are 26 and 27, and they’ve been living together for seven years. After their second child was born, they decided that Jane would be a stay-at-home mom so they wouldn’t have to pay for daycare.

Ryan just started a new, better paying job. At $45,000/year, their family income is slightly higher than it was last year.

However, after a few months, Jane and Ryan are having trouble making ends meet. Their oldest daughter, Sarah (age 6), would like to take swimming lessons, but they don’t really have room in their budget.

Ryan wonders if his family situation opens the door to any social programs, while Jane wonders if she still has to file a tax return now that she has no income.

Ryan is indeed eligible for social programs. As for Jane, she should file a tax return to benefit fully from the available programs and credits.

Q&A — Jane and Ryan
  • Jane didn’t have any income this year. What programs could she benefit from by filing her tax return?

    Because she has children, Jane is eligible for the family allowance from Retraite Québec, which is paid to families with one or more children under 18 and is based on the family income reported to Revenu Québec. To receive it, Jane must file her tax return every year even if she doesn’t have any income to report. The birth of Jane and Ryan’s second child will increase the amount of her family allowance payments.

  • Can Ryan benefit from Jane filing her tax return?

    Yes. Since Jane won’t need the non-refundable tax credits she could claim in her return, she can transfer them to Ryan to reduce his income tax.

  • Jane and Ryan have never claimed the solidarity tax credit. How can they get it?

    To claim the solidarity tax credit, Jane and Ryan must file their tax returns. To make sure they get the full amount they’re entitled to, one of them must file Schedule D with their return and sign up for direct deposit (if they haven’t already). If they don’t complete Schedule D, they’ll only get the basic amount and the spousal amount of the QST component.

  • Can Jane and Ryan claim the solidarity tax credit for past years?

    Yes, if they meet the requirements for the year. They can claim the credit up to four years after the end of the taxation year used to calculate their credit for a payment period. For example, the credit for the period from July 2018 to June 2019 is based on the 2017 taxation year. If Jane and Ryan forgot to claim it in their 2017 return, they have until December 31, 2021, to claim it. However, only one of them can claim it for the couple.

  • What requirements do Jane and Ryan have to meet to be eligible for the solidarity tax credit?

    Generally speaking, to be eligible, they must:

    • be 18 or over
    • live in Québec
    • be a Canadian citizen or have a recognized residence status
    • file their tax return
    • be signed up for direct deposit
  • How is the solidarity tax credit calculated?

    To calculate the credit, Revenu Québec will add up the amounts Jane or Ryan is entitled to under the three components:

    • the QST component
    • the housing component
    • the component for individuals living in a northern village

    The result may be reduced based on their family income.

    For an estimate of their tax credit payments, Jane and Ryan can use this tool on Revenu Québec’s website.

  • How can Jane and Ryan sign up for direct deposit?

    They can sign up for direct deposit in one of the following ways:

    • online in My Account for individuals
    • online through their financial institution (if it offers such a service)
    • by enclosing a voided cheque with their name and social insurance number with their tax return
    • by completing a Request for Direct Deposit (form LM-3-V) and either mailing it to Revenu Québec or enclosing it with their return
  • What conditions does Ryan have to meet to be eligible for the work premium tax credits?

    To be eligible for the work premium, Ryan must meet the basic conditions. His work income for the year must also be over $3,600 (if he didn’t have a spouse, the minimum would be $2,400). There are also limits on family income depending on a person’s situation (single, childless couple, couple with one or more children or single parent).

    Since he meets the basic conditions and his family income is less than the $49,842 maximum for 2020, Ryan is eligible for the work premium tax credits.

  • How can Ryan claim the work premium?

    Ryan will have to file his tax return, but he doesn’t actually need to claim the work premium tax credits because they’re paid automatically. However, to get the full amount he’s entitled to, he must file Schedule P with his return.

  • Can Jane and Ryan claim a tax credit for Sarah’s swimming lessons?

    Yes. Because Sarah’s six years old, they can claim the tax credit for children’s activities (assuming they meet the other requirements).

    The credit is equal to 20% of their eligible registration or membership fees. Generally speaking, the maximum is $500 in fees per child, for a maximum tax credit of $100 per child.