REGINA - There is good news for Saskatchewan residents waiting impatiently for their $500 Affordability Tax Credit cheques to be sent.
Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer confirmed to reporters that the government is looking to start sending the $500 cheques to residents starting the week of Nov. 14.
“We hope to have them out the week of the 14th, said Harpauer.
The $500 cheques are one of the initiatives that is part of the Income Tax (Affordability) Amendment Act, 2022, introduced in the legislature on Wednesday.
First reading took place in the legislature, and it still needs to get through the Legislature and get Royal assent. The hope is that will happen next week.
Harpauer told reports the government had been working with the New Democrats and expects their cooperation. “Hopefully, they will help us pass the legislation,” she said.
What the amendments do is incorporate the Saskatchewan Affordability Tax Credit into income tax legislation. Also, it extends the small business tax rate reduction by another year.
The small business tax rate stays at zero per cent, retroactive to July 1, 2022. The restoration of the rate to two per cent is pushed back to July 1, 2024.
As for the $500 cheques, all Saskatchewan residents who are 18 years of age or older as of Dec. 31, 2022, who have filed a tax return in Saskatchewan for the 2021 tax year will receive the one-time $500 SATC cheques when they are sent out. It is expected approximately 900,000 cheques will be delivered.
Oct. 31 was the deadline for people to have filed a tax return to be eligible for the $500. Harpauer told reporters that they were being told by the Canada Revenue Agency reported that among those who hadn’t filed taxes, there was a bump in the number of people who did file.
Harpauer maintained to reporters that the government’s decision to issue $500 cheques was the right one.
“There was a lot of discussion on different mechanisms of what we would do,” Harpauer said. She said she was “very firm” that she did not want it to go into operating funding because of the risks should resource revenues fall. There had also been discussion of infrastructure funding.
“We just felt the resource belongs to everyone and the quickest way is that everyone will benefit from the resource that they own.”