What is the BC Sales Tax Credit?

The BC Sales Tax Credit is a program is designed to offset the cost of the sales tax for low-income taxpayers and their families residing in British Columbia.

The B.C. sales tax credit is refundable, so even if you do not have taxable income to report, you can get cash back from the government by completing and filing your tax return.

BC Sales Tax Credit Eligibility

Residents of British Columbia may be eligible for the refundable sales tax credit if they are:

  • 19 years old or over,
  • have a spouse or common-law partner,
  • or are a parent.

Applicants must not have been in prison or a similar institution for more than six months of the tax year, including Dec. 31. As well, deceased taxpayers are excluded.

Calculating the BC Sales Tax Credit amount

Form BC479 British Columbia Credits is used to calculate your eligibility for the credit and how much you are entitled to. If you use tax software like TurboTax, this form is completed for you as soon as you enter your province of residence on December 31st as British Columbia. Many people will notice that as soon as they start their tax return, it shows a refund of $75.00 for single persons and $150.00 for couples. This is because you have not made any income entries yet, and the credit amount will change or be eliminated entirely once you enter your and your spouse’s income, (if applicable) is entered.

To calculate your claim amount, you must first subtract the following amount from your income: $15,000 for an individual, or $18,000 for a couple. Next, multiply your remaining income amount by 2 percent. Finally, subtract that amount from the maximum claim amount of $75 for individuals or $150 for couples to yield your claim amount. The credit received will calculate to $75 or less for individuals, and to $150 or less for families.

Maximum credit amount

The maximum credit is $75 for the taxpayer and $75 for his or her spouse or common-law partner. If you’re single, the credit is reduced by 2% of your net income over $15,000. If you have a cohabiting spouse or common-law partner, the credit is reduced by 2% of your family net income over $18,000. The credit is eliminated entirely when your income reaches $18,750 for individuals, and $25,500 for spouses combined.

For example, John and Sharon make a combined income of $27,000. The form requires them to deduct $18,000 as a couple, leaving $9,000. Their total claim is 2 x $75 = $150 and is reduced by 2 percent of the amount that their combined income exceeds $18,000 ($9,000 x 2 percent = $180). Note that a negative amount results in a claim of zero.

Which TurboTax Is Best for You?

You have a simple return, so why not try filing for free with TurboTax Online Free, a no-charge edition of our software? Or, you can start your return using Free, and if you feel the need for additional assistance, you can 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. Check out the full line up here.