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

Township open burning winds down

Spallumcheen reminds residents of regulation changes as open burning concludes April 30

Mission to host Easter dinner for homeless

“From the staff, volunteers and guests of the Upper Room Mission, we wish you all a Happy Easter.”

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Fire near Vernon airport “not a concern”

Vernon firefighters attended the scene and found a resident performing a controlled burn

Keep an eye on this up-and-coming Vernon director

15-year-old Bowen O’Brien celebrates filmmaking successes.

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

B.C. women make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Most Read