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Funding keeps income tax-filing assistance accessible

Funding keeps income tax-filing assistance accessible

April 7, 2021 at 8:38 am  BC, News, Politics

People with disabilities and other barriers will continue to receive free help filing their income tax and accessing tax credits and benefits, thanks to $1.18 million in provincial funding.

Disability Alliance B.C. (DABC) has been operating the Tax Assistance and Information program (Tax AID) since 2015, providing free community-based income tax filing services for persons with disabilities and persons with persistent multiple barriers throughout British Columbia.

DABC works with partners Together Against Poverty Society, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society and the Active Support Against Poverty Society to ensure people around the province can receive this support. The new funding will help the program run for an additional three years.

“Making B.C. more accessible for everyone includes improving access to things like financial resources,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “I am very happy the Tax AID program can continue to support people through what is often a complicated process, ensuring that they receive the benefits or financial supports they are entitled to.”

It is not uncommon for people receiving income assistance or disability assistance to have incomes below the poverty line, and they often face significant barriers to accessing additional financial resources through tax filing. The services provided through Tax AID can help people access tax credits, income tax refunds and additional benefits such as Registered Disability Savings Plan grants and bonds.

The Tax AID program has been able to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic without disruption. This has been especially helpful for those on income or disability assistance who are faced with more complicated taxes this year due to provincial and federal emergency measures supporting them during the pandemic.

Government continues to develop B.C.’s first comprehensive accessibility legislation and remains committed to working with the disability community to build a more accessible, inclusive future where all people have equal access to opportunities.

Quotes:

Dan Coulter, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility –

“Filing taxes shouldn’t be a barrier to additional financial assistance. By supporting DABC’s Tax AID program, we are making sure those British Columbians who require a little extra help filing their taxes receive it, and they receive it free of charge.”

Karen Martin, executive director, operations, and project co-ordinator, Indigenous Women, Disability and Violence Project, Disability Alliance BC (DABC) –

“DABC is incredibly grateful to the ministry for its ongoing support of the Tax AID program. Thanks to our successful community partnerships, Tax AID is able to help people with disabilities in four regions of the province. The program has supported over 5,000 unique clients, distributed nearly 10,000 self-help guides and brochures, and delivered workshops to over 350 people. The people helped through the program benefit from greater financial security, stability and an increased sense of well-being that results from getting caught up with their income tax filing, which makes them eligible for other benefits.”

Susan and Richard, a couple helped by Tax Aid –

“Having gotten our many tax returns up to date is a huge burden off our shoulders, and we could not have done this without you. Your patience with us and your kind-hearted willingness to go way above and beyond is appreciated more than you can imagine.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since 2018, Tax AID has served over 5,200 clients and helped them to access over $9.73 million in income tax benefits.
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 926,100 British Columbians (24.7% of the population) who reported having a disability.

Learn More:

Learn more about Tax AID:
https://disabilityalliancebc.org/direct-service/file-income-taxes/

The 2019 Framework for Accessibility Legislation can be found here:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/about-the-bc-government/accessible-bc/disability-consultation/2019-consultation/framework-for-accessibility-legislation.pdf  

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