We’ve all heard the talk about the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit and the benefits it can bring by encouraging Ontarians to explore close to home this year. In early January 2022 Ontario officially introduced this new travel incentive program designed to encourage visitation at accommodations across the province.
The new program provides incentives of up to 20 per cent in tax refunds for visitors’ accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 per person.
As tourism operators in Grey County, it’s important we understand exactly what this incentive means, and how we can market it to our best advantage. Naturally, people have questions. We at Grey County Tourism are here to provide some answers.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the tax credit and what it means for your business in 2022.
What is the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit?
The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit was created to encourage Ontario families to explore the province and be part of the tourism and hospitality sectors’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program provides a 20 per cent tax refund for accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 for an individual or $2,000 for spouse, common-law partner, or eligible children. That equates to a $200 tax credit for an individual or a $400 tax credit for a family applied to your 2022 income tax return.
Who can claim the tax credit?
Anyone who lived in Ontario on Dec. 31, 2021 qualifies for the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit.
How can my business benefit from the Staycation Tax Credit?
We suggest all businesses promote the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit to their customers, whether they are an accommodator or not. The reason for this is because if you encourage visitors to come and spend the night at a local accommodation, they are also likely to spend money at local restaurants, events, and experiences. It’s a win for everyone in the industry! And we like that.
If you are an accommodator, we suggest you ensure customers staying with you will qualify for the tax credit by providing customers with a that includes the following:
- Your location
- The accommodation portion of a stay
- The GST/HST paid
- The date of stay
The name of the payor
What expenses qualify for the tax credit?
The tax credit is available for accommodation expenses only. Eligible accommodations include overnight stays (for up to one month) in a hotel, bed and breakfast, lodge, resort, motel, or cottage or campground between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022.
Please note the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit only applies to those accommodation charges where the amount of HST paid is itemized on the bill.
How can my customers claim their tax credit?
The staycation tax credit is claimed on an individual’s 2022 Personal Income Tax submission. Customers must keep receipts from their accommodation booking to submit with their taxes, or keep on hand in the event they are requested. Please note the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit only applies to those accommodations which charge HST and the HST must be itemized on the bill.
What can I tell my customers and visitors about the tax credit?
This program is brand new which means it’s a little confusing for customers. As an experience provider in Grey County, your task will be to help clear up some of the confusion and educate your customers about the program and how they can benefit.
You can do this by the following:
- Provide a link to the VisitGrey.ca Staycation Tax Credit Landing Page or directly to the province's Ontario Staycation Tax Credit page on your website.
- Post about it on social media - refer customers to the provincial website here .
- Include it in your newsletters - help spread the message!
- Ensure your staff are informed about the program (particularly important for accommodators). Provide them with handouts if possible
- Refer customers to the story Grey County developed about the program, available here .
- Partner with accommodations to share information with them and ask them to also refer business your way!
- Develop a marketing campaign to inform the travelling public of the tax credit. Start by ensuring your listing on VisitGrey.ca is updated with amenities, new pictures and your package information. Reach out to our office you need help .
- Use RTO7's Staycation Tax Credit Packages as a guide to leveraging the tax:
I don't sell accommodations. How can my business benefit from the Staycation Tax Credit?
- Remind accommodators of your great products or services.
- Ensure you have a presence at their front desk with brochures and information
- Pitch them a truly exclusive experience for their guests that they can package with an overnight stay.
- If you run a restaurant, create a unique room/meal package with the accommodator. By creating a unique meal package, you do not need to discount your menu prices. You could also create an experience for the guests of your accommodation partner.
- If you provide guiding services, create a unique package with the nearby accommodator that includes your services. By creating a unique package, you do not need to discount your fees.
Strengthen your relationship with the accommodator. Consistently provide current information about your services/offerings to the owners/managers.
This could take the form of:
- Daily/weekly email and/or social media updates of services available being shared with the accommodators.
- Daily sell offs of unused inventory that is only available to the accommodator's guests
- This could take the form of:
- Invite their staff for a complimentary tour or experience so they can tell guests first-hand.
- Share social media posts of the accommodators' offerings and communicate how they will match up with your services. Ask the accommodator to hashtag and tag you in their posts/stories so it is easy for you to share.
- Provide priority reservations for guests of the accommodator.
We are excited to see everyone’s staycation packages come together!