Reduced Income

What to do when facing difficulties with income.

  1. Budgeting – Your Money Management Cheat Sheet for Success
  2. What to Do When You Have No or Low Income

Low Income – No Income . . . Now What?

Not knowing for sure where your next pay cheque will come from, or if it will be enough to pay the rent and groceries this month, is one of the most difficult circumstances someone can find themselves in.

If this is your situation, here are some points to consider during this difficult time:

Take Care of Essential Living Costs

Your essential living costs are what you need to survive. By keeping yourself as healthy and safe as possible you’ll be better able to deal with your situation. Taking care of your essential living costs means:

  • Pay your rent and food first.
  • Pay your utilities. Reduce or cancel any services that you don’t need right now.
  • If you’ve lost your job, do you have assets that you can sell? Look around the house and see what you could do without, even temporarily.
  • Are you able to increase your income? Consider temp work, taking in a boarder, renting the garage, working part-time from home, babysitting or delivering newspapers.
Planning and Creating a Budget to Help Pay Finances

Banking, Credit, and Debt

Keeping the little money you do have safe is important. If you owe money to your financial institution (loans or credit cards) and fall behind on payments, your bank or credit union can use any funds that you have in your accounts to pay down these debts without notifying you. If you suddenly receive a deposit, like an income tax refund or birthday gift from a loved one, this money is in jeopardy as well.

Open a new account at a financial institution where you don’t owe any money. Deposit any money you receive to this new bank account. Find out more about your banking rights and responsibilities from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

If you’re not able to pay your debts, your credit rating will be affected. However, your credit rating will start to recover after you return to work and you’re able to make your payments again. In the meantime, take care of the essentials first.

Communicate your current situation to your creditors so that they can work with you on a solution. For more information and guidance about how to do this, review our guide on dealing with creditors and collection agencies.

Only use cash and only buy essential items during this time. Your family and friends won’t want to see you struggle, so only spend what you can truly afford. Relying on credit and getting into debt will only make your situation worse.

Get Help When You Have No or Low Income

Community assistance is available to those who need it. For example, don’t be afraid to ask for help at the food bank or at your place of worship if you’re struggling to make ends meet. Community service centres are also great places to find additional resources. More informal support is available through community Facebook and social media groups. Getting a little help now will hopefully allow you to regain stability and pay it forward later. You can also contact us to speak with a credit counsellor about your situation. We’re happy to answer your questions and provide you with guidance during this difficult time.


Can I Get a Tax Refund if I Don't Pay Taxes?

Absolutely not! If you aren’t paying taxes, there is no way that you can get a tax refund. If you’ve any trouble paying taxes, such as low income, contact a credit counselling society for help.

How to File Taxes if You Have No Income in Canada

If you’re in the no-earning slab currently, you have a few options – file a nil return, file a tax return using the T1 general form or contact a tax professional.

When do I need to file my taxes in Canada?

The deadline for filing taxes in Canada is April 30th for anyone working for an employer and June 15th for those who are self-employed. Pay taxes on time to avoid penalties.

Where can I file my taxes in Canada?

The easiest way is to use the services of a tax professional or prepare it yourself using online resources. For the best assistance, contact a credit counselling society to get the financial advice.

Who's Required to File Taxes in Canada?

If you’re employed under someone or have any other income sources, the Canada Revenue Agency requires you to pay taxes. For any further doubts regarding credit counselling, contact our Credit Counselling Society.

Do you have questions?

Get debt help now

If you're struggling and are wondering how to move forward, give us a call. We're happy to answer your questions and help with any financial advice you need. It's possible that all you need at the present time is the right information or a plan for how to move forward once your situation improves. Give us a call if you have any questions. Speaking with us is always free, confidential and non-judgmental.

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