The Alberta government is trying to take the sting out of the carbon tax, and says help is already arriving.
Households that qualify for a rebate on the new $20 per tonne carbon levy that came into effect Jan. 1 started receiving payments today from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
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Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman said many Albertans have been surprised they didn't have to do anything in order to start receiving them — they just had to file their 2015 taxes.
She held a press conference at the home of an Edmonton family who were among the first to receive a rebate.
Those who use direct deposit on their taxes should have received their first payment Thursday, but those who get a cheque in the mail after filing taxes should start receiving rebates in the mail as early as next week.
Some to receive multiple payments
According to the province, 60 per cent of households in Alberta will receive the full benefit of its carbon tax rebate program, and 66 per cent will receive at least a partial rebate.
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Single adults earning below $47,500 will receive a $200 rebate in 2017. That amount decreases as incomes rise — people earning $51,250 or more will receive no rebate.
For families, including couples with no children, the rebate starts at $300 and can go as high as $420 for a couple with four kids or a single parent with five kids.
Families with combined net incomes below $95,000 qualify for the full amount, dropping to zero as household incomes reach $100,000 for a couple, $101,500 for a couple with two kids and $103,000 for a couple with four kids.
The rebate will come in multiple payments throughout the year, and the more you get, the more payments there will be.
- $400 or more delivered in four payments in January, April, July and October.
- $200-$399 delivered in two payments in January and July.
- $100-$199 delivered in one payment in January.
A government spokesman says those who were laid off last year will get their first payment in July if they file their taxes this spring.
Other rebate initiatives to start soon
For others paying the carbon tax with no rebate, Hoffman says there is still an opportunity for them to help green Alberta's grid and save money while doing their part to reduce energy consumption.
Home energy efficiency grants or incentives will be available in the spring, but little detail has been released so far.
The province is promising to help make people's homes warmer and more efficient, and use less energy in the future by upgrading with items like double-pane windows or an energy-efficient furnace. Other examples include:
- Free installation of residential efficiency products like lighting, water fixtures, heating components.
- Rebates for efficient appliances, lighting and insulation for homes.
- Incentives for high-efficiency retrofits of lighting, heating, cooling and hot water systems for businesses, non-profits and institutions such as schools.
The province launched the Energy Efficiency Alberta agency last year, which will be in charge of delivering programs to homes, businesses and communities as the NDP's Climate Leadership Plan is rolled out.
Find out more about rebates and where money from the carbon tax will be invested into on the Alberta government's website. Questions on the rebate payments are being directed to the CRA, which is administering the program on the province's behalf.