Canada did not have income taxes in its early history. The first income tax in our country was introduced in the fall of 1917 when Sir Robert Borden’s tory government passed the Income War Tax Act in order to help pay for the financial costs of World War 1. The intention of that Act was to establish a temporary income tax but 100 years later and it appears that income taxes are here to stay.
Today, personal income taxes are by far the largest source of revenue for Canada’s federal and provincial governments, comprising more than 48% of federal income during the 2014-15 fiscal year for example.
Over time, income taxes and income tax filing have also become a way to determine eligibility for many programs and supports for Canadians with low or modest incomes as well as for certain benefits for people with disabilities. These supports include the GST credit, BC sales tax credit, Carbon Tax Credit, MSP Premium Assistance, and access to subsidized housing. Income tax filing is also required to receive federal grants and bonds for Registered Disability Savings Plans. Tax AID DABC’s goal is to help recipients of BC provincial disability assistance to access the supports they are entitled to receive by getting caught up to date with their unfiled income taxes. The service is free and many of our clients receive hundreds or even thousands of dollar in income tax benefits as a result. If you are interested in celebrating 100 years of income taxes with us by getting caught up to date on your own taxes we hope that you will contact us for assistance.