For low-income and disabled people, filing taxes is a path to tax credits and qualifying for valuable assistance programs. (Dave Crosby/Flickr)

Help expands for disabled people to collect tax benefits

Year-round program extended to Victoria, Kelowna, Prince George

The B.C. government has provided an additional $1.14 million to the Disability Alliance of B.C. to expand its tax preparation program beyond Vancouver.

The assistance will be provided year-round in Kelowna, Victoria and Prince George as a result of the funding boost, Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said Thursday.

Filing annual tax returns is a valuable benefit to low-income disabled people, because it is the only way to qualify for the disability tax credit, GST tax credit and federal and provincial child benefits, Simpson said.

“This is also a critical and essential step in qualifying for the disability tax credit,” Simpson said. “If you do that you can then move forward with programs like the registered disability savings plan, which can provide thousands of dollars of additional income.”

The program, called Tax AID, has operated in Vancouver since 2015. It has assisted more than 650 people, some of whom had not filed taxes in several years. Multiple returns can be filed and years worth of benefits can result.

The program is delivered with assistance of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre in Kelowna and the Together Against Poverty Society in Victoria.

“Many of our clients with disabilities tell us they are afraid to file income taxes in case they end up owing money,” said Tina Larouche of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre.

Douglas King of the Together Against Poverty Society said filing taxes can also allow people to qualify for subsidized housing, which is income tested.

For low-income people who are not on disability assistance, free help is available for simple tax returns through the Canada Revenue Agency’s community volunteer income tax program, which is offered in 50 B.C. communities.

Just Posted

Port Alberni soapbox derby has new track

Lower Argyle Street will be open to racers under six

Heat warning issued for Vancouver Island

Temperatures expected to cool down later this week

Vehicle catches fire near China Creek Marina

No injuries in blaze, according to witnesses

North Island College issues brief statement on bomb threat

Threat forced college to close all campuses for one day

Premier wades into fishery closure debate

John Horgan questions the federal government’s approach

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016

Indigenous housing providers worried Liberal proposals could put families on the streets

Indigenous housing providers raise alarms about future of federal funding deals

B.C. baseball team offers funeral prize pack

Wednesday’s West Coast League game in Victoria features draw for end-of-life package

Black Press Media journalists win big at Canadian community newspaper awards

Newsrooms earn recognition for editorial and photography excellence

Most Read