Coming Next Year: B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit
Effective April 2015, about 180,000 B.C. families in B.C. with young children will be eligible to receive up to $55 per month, or $660 annually, for each child under the age of six through the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit. To receive the new benefit in 2015, parents need to file their annual income tax returns, starting with the 2013 tax year, and make sure they have applied for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. If your child is already registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you will be automatically signed up to receive the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit, as long as you meet eligibility requirements.
The maximum benefit will be available to all eligible families with net incomes under $100,000. The benefit will start to phase out at $100,000 and will be fully phased out at $150,000. It is estimated that 140,000 families will receive the full benefit, while an additional 40,000 families with net incomes over $100,000 will receive a partial benefit.
The tax benefit was announced in February 2013 as part of the B.C. Early Years Strategy to improve the affordability of childcare and assist families with the cost of raising young children.
The new provincial benefit will supplement existing federal benefits, including the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit.
The government encourages low-income residents to file a tax return in order to maximize their benefits. About 25% of people on income assistance do not file a tax return and, as a result, are missing out on additional income that could improve their financial position.
A number of federal and provincial tax credits and benefits are available to B.C. families who file their annual income tax returns and apply for the programs even if they have no income to report. These include:
- B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit (effective April 1, 2015)
- B.C. Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit
- B.C. Sales Tax Credit
- National Child Benefit Supplement
- Canada Child Tax Benefit
- Universal Child Care Benefit
- Child Disability Benefit
- Working Income Tax Benefit
- GST Credit
For example, for credits and benefits based on the 2013 return, a single person on income assistance may be eligible to receive $458 per year, a single parent with one child under six could receive up to $6,530 per year and a couple with two children under six may receive up to $12,103 per year.
Individuals who need help filing income tax and benefit return, have a modest income and a simple tax situation, may be eligible to have their tax return prepared through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program: www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer