What is the Ontario Opportunities Fund?
The Ontario Opportunities Fund was an incentivized fund created back in 1996 in response to the province’s growing debt.
The fund gives Ontarians the option to donate to it to help the province get out of debt, in exchange for non-refundable tax credits which they can claim against their income.
When you contribute to the Ontario Opportunities Fund, you can use your donation to write off taxes from your income.
With that, you can decrease the tax amount you need to pay, and potentially even get a tax return.
With Ontario’s debt still being over $300 billion, there is a lot of work to do, but every little bit helps.
Who is Eligible for the Tax Credit?
If you want to donate to the Ontario Opportunities Fund, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Be a resident of Ontario.
- File a personal income tax return, whether you earned any income that year or not.
How Can I Contribute to the Fund?
If you decide that you want to contribute to the Ontario Opportunities Fund, there are a couple of ways you can do it: by allocating all or a portion of your tax refund, or by issuing a cheque or money order.
Allocate Your Tax Refund
Every year, after your file your taxes, the CRA will assess the amount of tax you paid in conjunction with the amount of income that you earned in that year.
If they find that you overpaid your taxes, you may find yourself with a tax refund.
If you receive an income tax refund, you have the option to allocate all or a portion of it to the Ontario Opportunities Fund.
To donate in this manner, all you need to do is fill out the Ontario Opportunities Fund section on page 4 of your tax return.
But keep in mind that if your donation is under $2, it won’t go through.
Cheque or Money Order
Alternatively, you can donate to the Ontario Opportunities Fund at any time throughout the year through cheque or money order.
All you need to do is write out a cheque or money order payable to: Minister of Finance – Ontario Opportunities Fund.
Then, mail it to:
Ontario Financing Authority
1 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
How Do I Claim My Credit?
If you’ve donated to the Ontario Opportunities Fund, the government will send you a receipt for the contribution sometime around February – just in time for tax season.
If you made multiple donations throughout the year, they will all be on the same receipt.
The receipt will showcase the contribution amount(s) and the tax year they were made in.
Then, you can use the dollar amount stated on your contribution receipt to reduce the amount of tax you have to pay, which may even earn you a tax refund.
You can claim your contribution in the year that it was made or carry it over to any of the next 5 years.
This also means that if you’ve contributed at any time in the past 5 years and haven’t claimed it on your taxes yet, you still can.
Just keep in mind that you can only claim each contribution once.
You won’t need to send your receipt to the CRA, but you should still keep a copy filed in the event that they need to review it.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I contribute to the Ontario Opportunities Fund?
At the end of the day, whether you contribute to the Ontario Opportunities Fund is up to you.
It’s always advised that you speak to a tax specialist that can take a full financial snapshot of your situation and evaluate the best tax sheltering strategy for you. But overall, donating to the Ontario Opportunities Fund is an effective and straightforward way of offsetting your income with a tax write-off. Also, many people feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when they help reduce their province’s debt.
- When was the last Ontario Opportunities Fund established?
The Ontario Opportunities Fund was established in 1996 in response to the increasing debt the province was facing. Debt isn’t uncommon for countries or provinces – Ontario’s debt amount is now about $398 billion , mostly comprising of expenses relating to healthcare, followed by education, followed by children and social services, and interest.