Governments get most of their money from taxes. Taxes pay for services such as roads, parks, community centres, medical care, welfare, schools, and universities.
Provincial Sales Tax (PST)
Provincial sales tax (PST) is a retail sales tax that you pay when you buy a taxable good or service, unless it is exempt. The PST rate on most, but not all, goods and services is 7%.
Everyone in B.C. has to fill in an income tax form each year and send it to the federal government by April 30. This form determines how much tax you pay on your income. It also determines if you qualify for tax credits. Employees have income tax taken off their paycheques. The government may return some money because too much tax was taken off your paycheque—or you may have to pay more because not enough tax was taken off.
Even if you had no income in Canada, you must still fill out and send in a tax form. You also have to report any income from outside Canada. Everyone must pay tax on any income from investments, whether you have a job or not.
Self-employed people and people who own businesses have to fill out and send in an income tax form by June 15. However, if you owe tax, you still have to pay it by April 30.
You can send in your income tax form in different ways, by filling out a printed tax form, or by phone or Internet. But the first time you send in your income tax form, you must send a filled out printed tax form.
For income tax information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website. During March and April, many community organizations give free help with filling in income tax forms. You can also pay someone to help you—for example,
an accountant or a tax preparation company. Look in the yellow pages, under Tax Consultants.
- For information about taxes in British Columbia, visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/en/index.page and click Taxes in the “Browse: Services” window
- For help with filling out tax forms, visit Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program .
- For extensive information on taxes in Canada, visit Canada Revenue Agency’s Newcomers to Canada video series.
BC HST Credit
If you have a lower income, you may qualify for a B.C. HST credit. This means the government will send back money to you four times a year. To apply for this credit, you need to fill out and send in an income tax return. To get the forms, call 1-800-959-2221. For more information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Child Tax Benefit
The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a monthly payment to families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18. To qualify, at least one parent must be a resident of Canada and both parents must send in their income tax forms every year, even if they have no income to report.
To apply, call 1-800 387-1193. For information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website. For help applying, contact your local Immigrant settlement Agency.
- Tax Benefit Information (find more information on the: Canada Child Tax Benefit, Universal Child Care Benefit, Working Income Tax Benefit, Goods and Services Tax Credit and other allowances)
Everyone who owns a house, land or buildings must pay property tax. Your city or town sends you a bill once (or twice) a year. If your property is outside a city, the B.C. government will send you a bill. You can also pay your property tax as part of your mortgage.