CRA holds Tax AID focus group at DABC

CRA staff with Myung Lee, Tax AID Program Manager, and Justina Loh, DABC’s Executive Director: Operations
Thank you very much to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) staff who visited DABC today to hear from our clients about how our Tax AID DABC program has helped them. A big thank you also to the focus group participants who provided their valuable feedback.

Earlier this year, Tax AID expanded to Vancouver Island, the Interior of BC and the North, through a partnership with Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS), Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, and Active Support Against Poverty (ASAP). We’re happy to be able to help more people receiving provincial disability benefits across BC to access the tax credits and benefits to which they are entitled.

Thank you to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for supporting Tax AID and this partnership.

New Beginnings-Clearing Tax Filing Off Your “To-Do” List!

September is just around the corner and that means a change in seasons and new priorities.  Remember when you were a student?  September likely brings to mind a new year with new challenges and new possibilities.  For some of us, September was an exciting chance to have a fresh start.  For others, it meant looming unknowns that provoked a sense of dread!  No matter who you are, a change in seasons can bring to mind the time to declutter and start fresh. 

Do you want to wrap up your summer with a big item checked of your “To-Do” list, and possibly a bit of extra cash?  If so, Tax AID DABC may be able to help.

Tax AID DABC can help people who have Person with a Disabilities (PWD) designation, or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment (PPMB) designation, to get caught up on filing simple tax returns, no matter where in BC they live.  Currently we can help file tax returns for any or all of 2008-2017, and we can often help even if you have other income such as pension income or employment income.   

A single person whose only income is PWD is often entitled to between $300.00-$550.00 per year in tax benefits, including GST, PST refunds and the BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit. People with children may qualify for additional amounts, such as the Canada Child Benefit. Any assistance provided by Tax AID DABC is free, no matter how much a person gets back on their tax returns.

We have tax advocates in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, and Prince George who can help you in person.  If you live outside these communities please contact us to request remote assistance.

Why file now?

  • Demand for assistance is lower than it is around tax time, which means you’ll get tax help faster
  • You’re missing out on GST payments!  If you file your taxes in September, your return may be processed in time for you to get both July and October GST payments in October.  (if you are otherwise eligible for GST, you can still get it going back as far as 2008)
  • It will be much easier and less stressful to file your 2018 taxes before the deadline in the spring.
  • Extra cash in time for the holidays, especially if you have multiple years of tax returns to file.

If you need tax help and want to get off to a fresh start in the fall, contact Tax AID DABC to see if we can help. 

  • In Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley, Contact: Tax Aid, Disability Alliance BC, located in Vancouver. Phone: (604) 872-1278, Toll Free: 1-800-663-1278 or email: 
  • On Vancouver Island contact Together Against Poverty Society, located in Victoria.  Phone: (250) 361-3521 or email:
  • In the Interior contact Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, located in Kelowna. Phone: (250) 763-4950 or email:
  • In Northern BC contact Active Support Against Poverty Society, located in Prince George. Phone: (250) 563-6112, Toll Free: 1-877-563-6122 or email:


How do I use Auto-fill my return?

Do you want do your own taxes? No problem.

Auto-fill my return is a secure Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) service that allows individuals and authorized representatives using certified software to automatically fill in parts of a 2017, 2016 and 2015 income tax and benefit return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing the return.

To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must:

DABC Tax Aid team will host “Income Tax DIY (do-it-yourself)for people with disabilities and their families” workshops in this fall. More detail will be followed soon.

Tax AID DABC Expansion

tax aid(2)

Our sincere thanks to Minister Shane Simpson and the Province of BC who announced today their funding support for the expansion of our Tax AID program. We will now provide direct services in partnership with the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society in Kelowna, Together Against Poverty Society in Victoria, and Active Support Against Poverty Society in Prince George.

To learn more, please visit: or read this article.

Tackling Taxes – Make Sure You Get the Benefits You’re Entitled To!

As of February 26, 2018, the Canada Revenue Agency has opened up online filing of personal income tax returns for the 2017 tax year. There are lots of reasons to file your taxes, even if you have a low income.  Keeping up-to-date on your tax returns gives you access to benefits and services such as:

  • GST Credits and the BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit;
  • Child Tax Benefits
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan Grants and Bonds, and;
  • Other income tested programs including subsidized housing and MSP Premium Assistance coverage.

There are several great free tax filing options available if you have a simple tax situation.  Many communities in BC have free tax clinics.  The CRA keeps a list of volunteer tax filing clinics on its website at:

Do you cringe at the thought of preparing your tax return?  If so, Tax Aid DABC may be able to help!  We can file up to 10 years of simple tax returns for people who receive provincial disability benefits (PWD or PPMB), no matter where in BC they live.  We can also provide information about and assistance accessing the Disability Tax Credit for anyone in BC who would be eligible to open the Registered Disability Savings Plan if they are approved for the Disability Tax Credit.

Are you comfortable using a computer? If so, you can prepare and file your tax return yourself using one of the multiple income tax preparation programs available.  One option we like is Simple Tax ( a by-donation service that you can access through an internet browser. We’ve produced a handy help sheet in several languages about how to file your return using this program.  You can find it on our website:

We’re here to help you access the tax benefits you are entitled to.  If you or someone you know receives PWD or PPMB benefits and needs help catching up on filing their income taxes, contact Tax AID DABC at: or call (604) 872-1278 or toll free at: 1-800-663-1278.

New Website for the Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently informed Disability Alliance BC that it will soon move its web presence to  It has provided the following message:

“In 2013, as part of its commitment to better serve citizens and businesses, the Government of Canada launched the Web Renewal Initiative (WRI) to make its online information and services easier to find and use through a single, user-centric website – The WRI is led by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Service Canada.

As part of the WRI, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be joining this July. As of July 11, 2017, all information concerning taxes, benefits, and charities will be moving to

Moving forward, the majority of CRA’s content will be located on the Taxes theme. The remaining content will be found on:

Those accessing the CRA website will be automatically redirected to This will be in place for one year to ensure that Canadians are taken to the appropriate page on, and that they will have sufficient time to update their bookmarks. If any of your webpages link to the CRA website, please ensure that the links are updated accordingly.

Canadians will have a consistent user experience on This new site is organized by 15 themes and top tasks (most frequently used information and services), making it easier for Canadians to find information and services.”

This message is also available in French:

“En vue de son engagement à mieux servir les particuliers et les entreprises, le gouvernement du Canada a lancé, en 2013, son Initiative de renouvellement du Web (IRW). Cette initiative vise à rendre les renseignements et services gouvernementaux en ligne plus faciles à trouver et à utiliser grâce au site Web unique centré sur l’utilisateur Le Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor du Canada et Service Canada dirigent l’IRW.

Dans le cadre de l’IRW, l’Agence du revenu du Canada (ARC) transfèrera son contenu vers en juillet. À compter du 11 juillet 2017, on publiera tous les renseignements sur l’impôt, les prestations et les organismes de bienfaisance sur

À l’avenir, la majorité du contenu de l’ARC se trouvera sur la page du thème Impôts. Le reste figurera aux endroits suivants :

Pendant un an, les internautes qui accéderont au site Web de l’ARC seront redirigés vers de façon automatique. Ils pourront ainsi consulter les pages adéquates sur et auront le temps de mettre leurs favoris à jour. Si vos pages Web comportent des liens vers le site de l’ARC, veuillez mettre ces liens à jour en conséquence.

Les Canadiens vivront une expérience uniforme sur Le nouveau site, divisé en 15 thèmes et tâches principales (services et renseignements les plus populaires), aidera les Canadiens à trouver facilement des renseignements et services.”

One Million Dollars in Tax Benefits and Counting…

Since DABC’s Tax Aid Program began in 2015, our Tax Advocates have had the pleasure of helping over 480 individual clients access over $1,039,000.00 in tax-related benefits.  Many of our clients receive between $300 and $500 per tax return, with those who have dependent children receiving even more.  Are you missing out on tax benefits because you haven’t filed your tax returns in a while?

We can file up to 10 years of simple personal tax returns for people living anywhere in BC who receive PWD or PPMB benefits, and often when there are additional sources of income such as employment income, pension income etc.

Together with our partners at Plan Institute and BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, we can provide information and assistance to clients who want to apply for the Disability Tax Credit so they can open a Registered Disability Savings Plan.  If you open a Registered Disability Savings Plan within or before the calendar year you turn 49, you may qualify for thousands of dollars in free grants and bonds from the Federal Government, to help you save for later life.  To access any grants and bonds you are entitled to, it is essential to be up to date on your tax returns.

We’re here to help you access some of the tax benefits you may be entitled to.  If you or someone you know who receives PWD or PPMB benefits needs help catching up on filing their income taxes, contact Tax AID DABC at: or call (604) 872-1278 or toll free at: 1 800 663-1278.


New Tax AID DABC publications

Thanks to funding from The Vancouver Foundation and assistance from MOSAIC, we have translated Help Sheet #16: Guide to Filing Income Taxes for People Receiving PWD/PPMB and our Tax AID DABC brochure into five different languages.

The languages are:

  • Chinese Simplified
  • Chinese Traditional
  • Persian
  • Punjabi
  • Spanish

You can download them on our Online Resources page, or contact Val at 604-875-0188 or if you would like copies mailed to you.

Community Update: Changes to Disability Tax Credit Certificate

Several changes were recently made to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Certificate which is used to apply for the DTC.

New Address for DTC Applications

One significant change is that residents of BC are now instructed to send their DTC applications to the Winnipeg Tax Centre.  Previously BC residents were instructed to send these applications to the Surrey Tax Centre.  The Winnipeg Tax Centre address is:

Winnipeg Tax Centre
66 Stapon Road
Winnipeg MB R3C 3M2

We have some concerns that this change will create inconvenience or confusion for people applying for the DTC.  However, we also hope that centralizing the review of DTC applications will result in better and more consistent administration of the DTC over time.

Shorter “Effects of Impairment” Section
The section “Effects of Impairment” on page 5 has also been significantly shortened.  This is the only section of the DTC where substantive information about the impacts of a person’s disability can be provided and is very important to establish DTC eligibility.  We remind applicants and their doctors that they have the right to attach additional sheets of paper to the application if there is insufficient space in that section to explain the effects of their disabilities.

Other Changes
In addition to these changes there have been a number of other changes to the application including new language in the section for applicants applying under the “Life-sustaining Therapy” category.
The DTC application form can be downloaded from the Canada Revenue Agency website (link) or requested through 1-800-959-8281.

DABC now provides help and support to apply for the DTC to people in BC who are eligible for the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) through our Access RDSP initiative.  We thank the Vancouver Foundation for their generous funding of this work as well as our partner organizations Plan Institute and the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society.  For more information about the DTC and the RDSP please feel free to contact us at 604-872-1278 or toll free at 1-800-663-1278.

Celebrate 100 Years of Income Taxes By Making Sure You Are Getting the Tax Benefits You Deserve

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.