The taxes you pay are more than just a drain on your wallet. By claiming eligible tax credits, you can reduce your overall tax liability, leading to lower tax payments—or even refunds after you file your taxes.

Eligible taxpayers in British Columbia (BC) can claim various provincial tax credits, along with federal tax credits. While people might mistakenly refer to these as BC tax rebates, these refundable and non-refundable tax credits hold a different meaning in tax-speak.

We have put together a guide on the different BC tax credits out there to take advantage of that can help you save money for whatever you want, including investments or essential expenses.

Key Takeaways
  1. You can reduce your overall tax liability and increase your savings income by claiming eligible credits.
  2. Complete British Columbia Credits Form BC479 to calculate your refundable BC tax credits.
  3. Specific BC tax rebates provide financial assistance for education, home renovations, child adoption, and more to make these goals more affordable.

6 refundable BC tax credits that could apply to you

Refundable tax credits not only reduce your taxes owing, but if the credit is higher than your total income tax, you might be eligible to receive the difference as a refund. 

For example, the BC sales tax credit is refundable. If you owe $200 in income taxes and qualify for a BC sales tax credit of $300, your taxes will reduce to zero, and you’ll receive a BC tax credit payment of $100 ($300 – $200 = $100). 

You might be asking yourself “What is the BC sales tax credit anyway?” And “How do I claim a carbon tax rebate in BC?” Read on for full details on these benefits and to see if you qualify.

1. BC sales tax credit

The BC sales tax credit is a tax benefit designed to help low-income individuals and families offset the provincial sales tax they pay on eligible goods and services. You can claim the BC sales tax credit if you were a BC resident on December 31 of the tax year and met any of these requirements:

  • You were 19 years of age or older
  • Had a spouse or common-law partner
  • Were a parent

If you have a spouse or common-law partner, the credit reduces by 2% of your family net income over $18,000, and only one person can claim the sales tax credit for the household.

2. BC home renovation tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities

This refundable tax credit helps eligible individuals with the costs of permanent renovations that enhance accessibility, functionality, or mobility within the home.

BC residents can claim this credit if they or someone on their behalf, incurred eligible expenses for improvements to their principal residence or the land their residence is situated on.

You must meet one of the following conditions to be eligible:

  • You are a senior (65 years of age or older) or a family member living with a senior
  • You are eligible for the disability tax credit or a family member living with a person with a disability

The maximum credit is $1,000 per tax year, calculated as 10% of qualifying renovation expenses (up to $10,000 in expenses).

3. BC training tax credit

The BC training tax credit offers financial incentives to apprentices participating in eligible apprenticeship programs administered through SkilledTradesBC.  

You are eligible to claim the training tax credit if you’re: 

  • A resident of British Columbia at the end of the tax year
  • Registered in an eligible program with SkilledTradesBC
  • Not enrolled in a public high school, a homeschooling program, or an independent school

Employers can also claim this credit if they were a BC resident during the tax year, ran a business in the province, and employed people who met the requirements of an eligible program. 

4. BC renter’s tax credit 

This new renter’s tax credit in British Columbia provides $400 to individuals and families with an adjusted income of $60,000 or less. If your income is above $60,000, the credit gradually decreases by 2% of the amount exceeding $60,000. The credit ultimately becomes zero once your income hits $80,000.

To claim the credit, you must have occupied a rental unit in BC, paid rent for at least six one-month periods during the year, and met any of the following conditions:

  • You were 19 years of age or older
  • You were a parent
  • You were cohabiting with a spouse or common-law partner

5. Venture capital tax credit

BC residents who acquired shares from a registered venture capital corporation (VCC) or an eligible business corporation (EBC) can claim this refundable tax credit.

The tax credit amount depends on when you acquired venture capital tax credit certificates:

  • For shares purchased before February 20, 2019, the maximum credit is $60,000
  • For shares purchased on or after February 20, 2019, the maximum is $120,000

If you are filing a paper return, you have to attach your Certificate(s) SBVC 10 and fill in the certificate number on line 19 of Form BC479.

6. BC clean buildings tax credit

You can claim this refundable tax credit if you paid or incurred expenses for qualifying retrofits that improve the energy efficiency of eligible commercial and multi-unit (four or more units) residential buildings in BC.

To claim this credit on Form T1356, the retrofit must be first certified by the British Columbia Ministry of Finance. You can only claim this credit for the tax year after the retrofit is completed.

6 nonrefundable BC tax credits that could apply to you

Nonrefundable tax credits in British Columbia can reduce your total provincial income tax. While these credits can reduce your tax liability to zero, you cannot get a tax refund even if the credits exceed the taxes you owe.

Let’s consider the nonrefundable employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) tax credit. If your income tax amounts to $500 and your ESOP tax credit is $700, your taxes-owing will become zero, but you won’t receive the difference of $200.

Here’s a roundup of nonrefundable BC tax credits you should know about.

1. BC volunteer firefighters or search and rescue tax amount

You can claim the volunteer firefighters’ amount (VFA) or the search and rescue volunteers’ amount (SRVA) if you meet the eligibility criteria as indicated on lines 31220 or 31240 of your tax return.

To be eligible, you need to complete at least 200 hours of volunteer firefighting services, or search and rescue volunteer services in the year. If you qualify, enter the VFA amount on line 58315 of your Form BC428, or the SRVA amount on line 58316.

While you can’t claim the two credits simultaneously, you can add up the volunteer hours for both and claim either the VFA or the SRVA.

2. Pension income amount

This tax credit is applicable to BC residents who receive income from pension, superannuation, or annuity payments. On line 58360 of your provincial Form 428, you can claim the pension amount on line 31400 of your return, or $1,000, whichever is lower.

Eligible pension income may include income received from:

  • Registered pension plans (RPPs)
  • Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)
  • Deferred profit sharing plans (DPSPs)
  • Annuities
  • Qualifying amounts from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF)

3. Tuition and education amounts

Post-secondary students can claim a tuition tax credit as a percentage of their total eligible tuition fees. If you don’t use all your education expenses to bring your provincial income tax to zero, you can transfer the unused amount to one of the following individuals:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner 
  • Your parent or grandparent 
  • A parent or grandparent of your spouse or common‑law partner

You can also carry forward the current year’s remaining amount (that you did not transfer) to claim in a future year. 

4. Dividend tax credits

The dividends you receive from investing in taxable Canadian corporations qualify for a BC dividend tax credit. This nonrefundable tax credit aims to alleviate the impact of double taxation on your dividend income. 

The tax credit rate depends on the type of dividend you receive—eligible dividends or non-eligible dividends. For the year 2023, the BC tax credit rate was:

Eligible dividends


Noneligible dividends


5. BC tax reduction

The BC tax reduction credit reduces or eliminates the tax burden for individuals with lower net incomes. For 2023, you can get the maximum tax reduction credit if your net income is below the threshold amount of $23,179. The credit gradually reduces if your net income exceeds this threshold amount and reaches maximum net income of $37,814. 

Let’s see how this BC tax credit works: 

  • For net income less than $23,179, the maximum tax reduction credit is $521. 
  • For net income beyond $23,179 but below $37,814, the credit gradually decreases by 3.56% of your net income. 
  • For net income over $37,814, the tax reduction credit becomes zero.

Note: Numbers are adjusted every year.

6. ESOP tax credit

BC residents who acquired shares from a registered employee share ownership plan (ESOP) are eligible for this tax credit. The ESOP credit that you do not claim in a tax year cannot be carried forward to a future year.

If you bought ESOP shares in the first 60 days of 2024, you can divide the credit between the 2023 and 2024 returns or claim it on a single return.

For people filing a paper return, attach your Certificate(s) ESOP 20 to confirm your investment amount and the credit you are entitled to.

BC benefits for individuals and families

British Columbia also offers additional benefits that you can receive simply by filing your Income Tax and Benefit Return.

1. BC family benefit

The BC family benefit is a nontaxable payment for families with children under 18 years of age. Eligible families receive this benefit combined with the Canada child benefit (CCB) as a single monthly payment.

If your adjusted family net income is less than $27,354, you’ll receive the maximum annual benefit:

  • $1,750 for your first child
  • $1,100 for your second child
  • $900 for each additional child

In 2023, the government also introduced a new annual supplement of up to $500 for lower-income, single-parent families. The BC family benefit is automatically paid to eligible families, requiring no action from taxpayers.

2. BC climate action tax credit

Wondering what the BC climate action tax credit is and how to determine your eligibility? The BC carbon tax credit is a quarterly payment aimed at mitigating the impact of carbon taxes on individuals and families. 

It is paid together with the federal goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit on the 5th day of July, October, January, and April. If your income is below the threshold ($39,115 for individuals; $50,170 for families), you get the maximum carbon tax rebate in BC by combining:

  • $447 for you
  • $223.50 for your spouse/common-law partner (or first child in a single-parent family)
  • $111.50 for each child, except the first child in a single-parent family

For people with income higher than the threshold, the credit reduces by 2% of the exceeding income until it reaches zero. Similar to the GST/HST credit, you do not need to apply for the BC climate action tax credit. The CRA uses the information from your return to determine your eligibility.

Forms you need in order to claim BC tax credits

To calculate and claim your provincial taxes and credits in British Columbia, you need the British Columbia Tax Form (BC428) and the British Columbia Credits Form (BC479).

Let’s take a look at the sections and forms you need to fill out for each credit. 

Tax credit

Forms and sections

BC sales tax credit

  • BC479

BC home renovation tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities

BC training tax credit

BC renter’s tax credit 

  • BC479

Venture capital tax credit

  • Form BC479: Line 18 for the tax credit amount and line 19 for the certificate number

BC clean buildings tax credit

BC volunteer firefighters or search and rescue tax credit

  • BC428: Line 58315 for the VF amount, or line 58316 for the SRV amount

Pension income amount

  • BC428: Line 58360

Tuition and education amount

Dividend tax credit

  • BC428

BC tax reduction

  • BC428: Line 79

ESOP tax credit

  • BC428: Line 86

BC climate action tax credit

  • CRA automatically calculates

BC family benefit

BC tax credits aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal; they offer different ways to offset taxes. To access all the credits that apply to your tax situation, file your taxes every year and apply for all the benefits you’re eligible for.

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