British Columbia’s Carbon Tax and accompanying tax shift has been in place since 2008. It is a BC policy adding additional carbon taxes to greenhouse gas emissions generated from burning fuel such as gasoline, diesel or coal. Its intent is to encourage citizens to reduce their environmental impact through energy use reduction and increased efficiency.

The BC Climate Action Tax Credit (BCCATC) is a tax-free payment made to low-income individuals and families to help offset the carbon taxes they pay. It is part of the GST/HST Credit program administered by the CRA and if the eligibility criteria is met, BC residents will receive the benefit payment with their quarterly GST/HST Credit payments.

Are You Eligible for the BC Climate Action Tax Credit?

All that is really necessary to get the climate action tax credit is to be a BC resident and file your and your spouse or common-law partner’s (if applicable) tax returns annually. When you file your tax return and the CRA determines your eligibility for the GST/HST Credit, they will include the provincial portion in the calculation and notify you separately. In the case of couples, only one person can receive the credit on behalf of the entire family, and the spouse or common-law partner whose tax return is assessed by CRA first will be the one who receives the credit.

An individual’s or family’s adjusted net income needs to be below the limit defined for the tax year to receive the full credit. This limit changes annually and current year limits can be found in this link, along with a calculator: Govt of BC – Climate Action Tax Credit. A family — either two-parent or single-parent — must have an adjusted net income under the limit. If you make more income than the limit, your carbon tax credit will be reduced by a percentage of the overage.

How to Apply

  • You need to file a tax return to get your climate action tax credit.
  • You will need to file a tax return every year to keep receiving the credit, even if you earn no income in that tax year. It does not automatically renew after one year.
  • Only one person per family can make a claim.

When Is the Credit Issued?

  • The Climate Action Tax Credit is paid along with the GST/HST credit.
  • If you qualify for the credit, you receive payments quarterly: in July, October, January and April.
  • If the payments work out to less than $50 per quarter, you would receive the entire amount in July.

Ensure that your direct deposit or mailing address information is up-to-date so that you receive your payments.

References & Resources

Which TurboTax Is Best for You?

You may have a simple return with little or no income and filing your return so you can get your benefits and credits like the GST/HST and BCCATC, so why not try filing with TurboTax Online Free? You can always start your return using the Free edition, then upgrade to any of our paid editions or even get Live help from an expert. But don’t worry, while using the online version of the software when you choose to upgrade, your information is instantly carried over so you can pick up right where you left off.