Information provided by Plan Institute and Disability Alliance BC
The process of filing a tax return every year can seem confusing, time-consuming, and technical. However, the reality is that filing income taxes can be a simple process if you know what you’re doing. The following tips are resources are intended to help make the process a little less taxing (pun intended).
Why should I submit a tax return?
A simple income tax return can be filed in 30-40 minutes. Even if your income is low or you don’t expect to qualify for any credits, it is worth submitting a tax return. The government uses Income taxes to determine eligibility for a range of supports. Filing your taxes can give you access to some of the following credits, benefits, and financial supports:
- GST credit
- BC Sales Tax Credit
- Child Tax Benefits
- Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Grants and Bonds
- Subsidized housing
- Medical Services Plan Premium Assistance coverage
- and more.
The Canadian income tax deadline for the 2021 income year is set for April 30, 2022 (June 15, 2022, if you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed). But, your life will be much easier and less stressful if you beat the rush and file your taxes in March or early April.
Tips For an Easier Tax Return
Make sure to keep track of any income tax slips that you receive from employers, the government, or other places you got money from throughout the year. These slips contain the information you will need to prepare an accurate income tax return. If you received income that was not reported on an income tax slip you should keep track of it and find out whether it will need to be reported before you file.
Make sure your address is up to date
If your address has changed, make sure you contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to update it. This will ensure that they send information to the right place.
Sign up for direct deposit
Direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to receive money from the CRA. If you have a Canadian bank account you can sign up for direct deposit. That way, any funds owed to you will be deposited into your bank account without you having to leave your home.
Here are some ways to set up direct deposit:
Directly through your financial institution
Either call, visit their website or visit your financial institution in person and they can help you set this up.
Online – My Account Portal
You can sign up yourself if you are registered for My Account
Online – mobile application
To start or update direct deposit information, use MyCRA
To sign up for direct deposit or to change your account information, call CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
Check what you’re owed
There are many financial benefits available. Taking the time to research all the benefits can be worthwhile. Try using the Benefits Wayfinder Tool created by Plan Institute, DABC, and Prosper Canada: https://benefitswayfinder.org. There is also the Government of Canada’s Benefits Finder Tool that can also help you find what you may be eligible for.
In BC, while many people receiving PWD and PPMB will be eligible for these benefits, the amount you receive will depend on your specific circumstances.
These benefits are listed below but can be viewed in more detail here.
- GST/HST Credit
- BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit (up to $115.50 for families living on a low income)
- PST Credit
- Working Income Tax Benefit
- Canada Child Tax Benefit
- Registered Disability Savings Plan Grants and Bonds
Check what you owe
In certain instances, the money you receive from tax credits or benefits may impact your payments for other tax credits or benefits that you receive. It is always worth double-checking what you need to pay and how various benefits interact with one another.
in BC, the money you receive from tax-related credits or benefits will usually not affect your Persons With Disability (PWD) or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) assistance cheque.
Free income tax clinics
The CRA posts information about free income tax clinics offered by community organizations on their website. These clinics are for people with low-income and are often in high demand.
CRA Persons with Disabilities Webinars
The CRA hosts ongoing live and interactive webinars on the credits and benefits available to persons with disabilities. Click this link to view upcoming dates.
You can also try filing your income taxes yourself. There are many free or affordable online programs that make the process straightforward. We recommend using the by-donation tool SimpleTax. Another popular online program is TurboTax, which is free for simple tax returns and is easy to use. If you would like to file your taxes on your own, but would like support from an experienced tax preparer, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for our Turbotax Self-Filing Program.
Check out this Help Sheet from Disability Alliance BC: Guide to Filing Income Taxes for People Receiving PWD/PPMB. If you are interested in filing an income tax return yourself but don’t know where to start, we recommend you give it a try. You can always decide mid-way through to get help from a tax preparer if it seems too complicated.
DABC Tax AID Program
Disability Alliance BC provides free support to people receiving Persons with Disabilities (PWD), Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment (PPMB), Canadian Pension Plan-Disability (CPP-D), Workers’ Compensation Board (WBC) benefits, or Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to file their taxes. Priority is given to clients who make below $35,000 individually and $42,000 as a couple.
Most people receiving disability benefits get at least $400-$600 back when they file their taxes, and some qualify for much more. To learn more about the Tax Assistance and Information for People with Disabilities (Tax AID) program, call DABC at Local: 236-477-1717 Toll Free: 1-877-940-7797 or email email@example.com
Tax Support for Indigenous Persons
BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) has partnered with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program to provide free tax filing support for their clients. Through the Indigenous RDSP Navigation, and Disability Case Management programs, they can help you to file up to 10 years of back taxes. Their services can be provided virtually so there is no need to attend an appointment in person. Please note that BCANDS is now able to provide support to folks across Canada.
BCANDS can also act as legal representatives with CRA. This allows them to support clients in the following way:
- Access benefits that can be backdated (CDB, CCB and GST).
- Help with T1 adjustments in order to claim the DTC, CWB (WITB) and CCC.
- Apply for interest relief on amounts owed to CRA.
- Provide support for clients who have been audited/reviewed for their benefits, such as CCB and CERB.
To access these services, complete a request for service by going to the following link: http://www.bcands.bc.ca/client-forms/bcands-client-service-request-form/
There are many benefits to income tax filing so we hope that these resources will assist you in the process and make it seem less daunting. If you have any questions or need support, call Plan Institute’s disability planning helpline at 1-844-311-7526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tax Aid Brochure 2018
- Help Sheet #16: Guide to Filing Income Taxes for People Receiving PWD/PPMB
- COVID-19 and the Disability Tax Credit – Beyond a $600 Payment
- The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP): Info, Calculator, Tutorial
- 5 Myths about the Disability Tax Credit
- Filing income taxes to receive RDSP grants and bonds
- SimpleTax Blog
- Certified Professional Accountants Canada Blog
- Ability Tax and Trust Advisors
- Tax Considerations for dual USA/CDA citizens
Canada Revenue Agency
- Home Page
- How to Obtain a Proof of Income Statement
- Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
- Disability Tax Credit
- Registered Disability Savings Plan
- Tax Measures for People with Disabilities (video series)
- Child and Family Benefits Calculators
- Apply for Taxpayer Relief: Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest
- Request Change of Address
- Personal income tax: What’s new for 2021?