(The information in this article comes from the Ministry of Finance’s Fuel Tax Refund for Persons with Disabilities—Tax Bulletin MFT004.)
Are you a person with a disability who either has full or partial ownership of a vehicle registered with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)? If so, the Fuel Tax Refund for Persons with Disabilities program, administered through the Ministry of Finance, may be of assistance to you. When you purchase fuel in British Columbia, a portion of what you pay is the British Columbia fuel tax, and this tax can be refunded, up to a maximum of $500 annually, through the fuel tax refund program. To qualify, you must:
- be at least 16 years of age,
- be the registered owner of a vehicle or have an ownership interest in a vehicle registered to someone else, such as a spouse, and
- have at least one qualifying disability.
The list of qualifying disabilities is lengthy. We will concentrate only on those who are designated a Person with a Disability (PWD) under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, as people with PWD status automatically qualify.
You can register for the fuel tax refund either online using eTaxBC, or by filling out the Application for Registration for the Fuel Tax Refund Program for Persons with Disabilities Form (FIN 119). This form is available on the Ministry of Finance website, from any Service BC Centre, or you can contact the Ministry of Finance and have one mailed to you. The form is also available at Victoria Disability Resource Centre.
Along with your registration application you must submit:
- a copy of your identification,
- a copy of your ICBC registration,
- documentation to confirm your disability, and
- a copy of your power of attorney (only if you are applying on someone else’s behalf).
If you do not have a valid BC driver’s license, you can use other identification, such as a BCID card, passport, immigration card or birth certificate. You must remember to include a copy of your ICBC vehicle registration (even in the case of joint ownership). If you are not registered with ICBC but have an ownership interest in a vehicle with another person, you must include:
- a copy of the vehicle registration, and
- a signed letter from the registered owner stating that you have an ownership interest in the vehicle.
Once you have been approved for the fuel tax refund program you will receive a confirmation letter, which will include the effective date, which is the date from which you can apply for a fuel tax refund. Ensure that you keep your receipts, as you will need them to get the refund. From this point onward you will need to complete the Application for Refund of Provincial Fuel Tax for Persons with Disabilities Form.
Keep in mind two points. First, there is a time limit; the Ministry of Finance must receive your refund application within four years of the date of purchase of the fuel. Be sure to adhere to this guideline, as it may not be appealed. Secondly, you will only be refunded the tax portion of your fuel cost, not your entire fuel cost. As of right now, this is 18 cents per litre in Greater Victoria. The rates for diesel differ. You can get information on diesel rates by contacting the Ministry of Finance.
Only original receipts which include such qualifying information as the date the fuel was purchased, the type of fuel purchased, the number of litres, and the seller’s name and address are accepted by the Ministry of Finance.
Unfortunately, TAPS does not help people apply for the fuel tax refund. Victoria Disability Resource Centre (817A Fort Street, 250-595-0044) has application forms, as does Service BC (in Victoria, at 403 – 771 Vernon Avenue).