Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning Canadians about schemers claiming they can get a tax refund for taxpayers relating to the Ontario senior homeowners' property tax grant (OSHPTG).

The OSHPTG is a refundable tax credit that gives tax relief to eligible low- and moderate-income seniors who own and occupy their principal residence. The seniors, or someone on their behalf, must have paid Ontario property tax on their principal residence. The grant is an annual payment that seniors must apply for each year when they file their income tax and benefit return.

Seniors with multi-generational homes targeted

Most provinces and territories offer tax credits and or tax relief to seniors. But the current scheme is being targeted at seniors living in a multi-generational family household that is owned by their children or grandchildren.

The promoter tells the senior that he or she can increase their tax refund and suggests the homeowner transfer an interest in the residence to the senior resident, sometimes without their knowledge.

Schemer inappropriately claims grant

The promoter will then prepare the income tax and benefit returns for the entire household as one financial unit, inappropriately claiming the grant on the senior's return by misrepresenting the seniors' homeownership.

CRA says the grant is only for individuals who own their principal residence. Those who choose to participate in these schemes and those who promote them face serious consequences, including penalties, court fines, and even jail time, says CRA.

CRA says it is up to individual taxpayers to keep proof to support any claim they make on their taxes.