Ontario Income Tax Brackets
Ontario income tax rates will be staying the same in 2021. What is changing is the level of income in the first two tax brackets.
Ontario increases their provincial income thresholds and the basic personal amount through changes in the consumer price index (CPI). This is called the indexing factor. Ontario's indexing factor for 2021 is 0.9%.
The amount of taxable income that applies to the first tax bracket at 5.05% is increasing from $44,740 to $45,142. The second tax bracket at 9.15% is increasing to an upper range of $90,287 from the previous $89,482.
The Ontario Basic Personal Amount was $10,783 in 2020. For 2021, the basic personal amount is increasing to $10,880. If you make less than $10,880, then you are exempt from Ontario’s provincial income tax. You may still need to pay EI premiums and CPP contributions.
Anticipated 2022 Changes
As mentioned previously, the tax brackets rise every year to match inflation as demonstrated by the consumer price index (CPI). Although not formally announced, in 2022, the federal tax brackets are expected to rise by an index factor of 1.025. This means the Federal Basic Personal Amount will increase to $14,398 ($13,808*1.025) in 2022. There have been no announcements about the 2022 provincial income tax, surtax, and health premium. Additional notable changes for the 2022 tax year include;
Introduction of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit
Ontario residents can receive a 20% tax credit for local accommodation expenses. Eligible expenses include leisure trips at a location such as a hotel, bed-and-breakfast, or resort in Ontario. There is a maximum credit of $200 for an individual or $400 for a family.
Extension of the Ontario Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit
Senior homeowners/ renters or people living with senior relatives can receive a 25% tax credit on expenses meant to improve safety or accessibility. The tax credit can be a maximum of $2,500. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to;
- Non-slip flooring
- Grab bars around a toilet or shower
- Wheelchair ramps, lifts, and elevators
Extension of the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit
Ontario residents between 26 and 65 can receive a maximum tax credit of $2000 on educational expenses. Eligible expenses include tuition paid to certain educational institutions or fees paid to occupational, trade, or professional bodies. The tax credit is 50% of the costs spent on eligible purchases.
The History of Ontario Provincial Income Taxes
1985-1995 (Increasing Taxes)
Following the 1982 recession, provincial governments across Canada found themselves with ballooning debt. As a result, Ontario needed to increase taxes to pay off the debt aggressively. In this period, provincial income tax increased from 48% of the basic federal rate to 58% by 1995. Ontario also created an additional surtax for high-income earners.
1996-2001 (Decreasing Taxes)
By 1996, Ontario had managed to pay off a significant portion of its debt due to the previous period’s operating surplus. As a result, Ontario tax policy made a dramatic change. In 1996, a 30% reduction in personal income tax was announced, with an additional 20% reduction in 1999.
2002-2017 (New Taxes, Recession)
By the mid-2000s, Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) was elected and rolled back a series of income tax cuts. Provincial funding increased for healthcare amidst the SARS pandemic, and so a new controversial tax was implemented, known as the Ontario Health Premium. McGuinty’s second term focused on easing the economic damage caused by the 2008 recession. This saw the lowest income tax rate cut by one percentage point. Kathleen Wynne (Liberal) was elected after McGuinty and increased taxes for high-income earners.
2018-Present (Anticipated Tax Cuts)
Premier Doug Ford (Conservative) was elected in 2018. His campaign included promises for income tax cuts across low, middle, and high-income earners. However, only the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax credit (LIFT) has been implemented. It is expected that the 2022 Ontario budget will bring tax cuts to the remaining brackets.
Ontario Provincial Income Tax Changes 2021
|Less than $10,783||Less than $10,880||0%|
|$10,784 to $44,740||$10,881 to $45,142||5.05%|
|$44,741 to $89,482||$45,143 to $90,287||9.15%|
|$89,483 to $150,000||$90,287 to $150,000||11.16%|
|$150,001 to $220,000||$150,001 to $220,000||12.16%|
|More than $220,001||More than $220,001||13.16%|
Ontario Health Premium
The Ontario Health Premium helps fund for healthcare services in the province. The health premium is usually deducted automatically from your pay if you are an employee. Otherwise, the health premium is paid when you file your personal income tax return.
The Ontario Health Premium was first introduced in July 2004. The goal of this tax is to help fund Ontario’s health services. Its implementation caused a dispute over who should pay. Unions and employers fought over the issue, and it was arbitrated that individuals should pay the tax. It is only paid if you make more than $20,000. If you make less than $20,000 a year, you will not be required to pay the premium.
Self-employed workers who make more than $20,000 a year are required to pay the health premium. Seniors who make more than $20,000 are also required to pay the health premium. This includes income from a pension, Old Age Security (OAS), and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits.
Self-employed workers will need to complete form ON428 to pay their premium. Seniors can choose to have the premium automatically deducted from their OAS and CPP benefits by completing form ISP-3520.
The maximum Ontario Health Premium for 2021 is $900.
Ontario Health Premium 2021
|Income||Ontario Health Premium (Lesser of)|
|$20,000 or less||$0|
|$20,001 to $36,000||$300 or 6% of income above $20,000|
|$36,001 to $48,000||$450 or $300 plus 6% of income above $36,000|
|$48,001 to $72,000||$600 or $450 plus 25% of income above $48,000|
|$72,001 to $200,000||$750 or $600 plus 25% of income above $72,000|
|$200,001 or more||$900 or $750 plus 25% of income above $200,000|
The Ontario Surtax is a tax on tax paid. If you have to pay more than a certain amount of tax, you will need to pay an additional surtax on that tax.
Ontario Surtax Rates 2021
|Provincial Tax Payable||Ontario Surtax|
|$4,874 or less||$0|
|$4,875 to $6,237||20% of provincial tax payable over $4,874|
|$6,238 or more||20% of provincial tax payable over $4,874 plus 36% of provincial tax payable over $6,237|
Canada Pension Plan
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a monthly, taxable benefit that you receive as part of your income in retirement. The amount you receive in retirement is dependent on your average earnings, contributions to the program, and the age you start receiving payments. To qualify for CPP, you must be over 60 and have made valid contributions while working.
Employed workers are required to pay half the required contribution while their employers pay the other half. All workers over the age of 18 who make more than $3,500 will be required to make CPP contributions on their earnings over $3,500. Self-employed workers who make more than $3,500 must also make CPP contributions. However, self-employed workers are required to make the total contribution out of pocket.
CPP Contribution Rate
|Year||Maximum Contributory Earnings||Contribution Rate (Employee/Employer)||Combined Contribution Rate|
Source: Canada Revenue Agency
All employed workers must pay premiums towards the federal employment insurance program. In unemployment, the program will provide temporary support while you look for another job or upgrade your skills. However, you are only eligible for the benefits if you paid premiums in the past year. Employment Insurance (EI) is shared between the employer and employee. However, the employer is generally required to contribute 1.4 times the employee’s premiums to the program.
Self-employed workers are not required to do contribute. However, they can still enroll if they wish to do so. Self-employed workers are not eligible for regular EI benefits which are for loss of work. They are only eligible for special EI benefits, such as sickness benefits.
EI Premium Rates
|Year||Maximum Annual Insurable Earnings||EI Premium Rate||Maximum Employee Premium||Maximum Employer Premium|
Source: Canada Revenue Agency