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No, you are exempt from public practice licensing as long as you apply for the exemption. This requirement is applicable for members employed in a public accounting firm as well. 

Apply for the exemption from our website by signing-in to “Online Services”.  Once signed in, click on the “Other Services” tab, then select “Volunteer Tax Services” in the right hand column navigation bar.

No, you are exempt from public practice licensing as long as you apply for the exemption. This requirement is applicable for members employed in industry as well. 

Apply for the exemption from our website by signing-in to “Online Services”.  Once signed in, click on the “Other Services” tab, then select “Volunteer Tax Services” in the right hand column navigation bar.

No, this application for exemption is required only for members not already licensed for public practice. Members working as staff in public accounting firms are required to apply for the exemption.
No, you must apply for this exemption annually. The current exemption is for tax clinics conducted during the current calendar year.
Yes, there’s no charge to apply for the exemption from licensing to prepare free tax returns for low-income taxpayers.
No, the free insurance coverage is available only to members who register for the licensing exemption. This coverage is valid for volunteer work carried out in BC only.

The exemption and insurance are applicable under the following circumstances only: The preparation of tax returns is in a volunteer capacity where no fee is charged or accepted;

  • Covers volunteer services provided at an organized tax clinic held in BC;

  • Tax preparation will be for low-income taxpayers only;

  • Tax returns will not be prepared for individuals who have self-employment income (except for T4A slips with income in box 48 under $1,000); business or rental income and expenses; interest income over $1,000; capital gains or losses (including sale of principal residence); employment expenses; filed for bankruptcy or consumer protection; or passed away during the taxation year.

     

We define low-income taxpayers as:

  1. individuals without dependents whose gross household income is below $30,000; and
  2. individuals with dependents, or couples, whose gross household income is below $50,000.
We expect members to prepare simple tax returns at these volunteer tax clinics, thus the taxpayers participating should not have self-employment income (except for T4A slips with income in box 48 under $1,000), business or rental income and expenses, interest income over $1,000, capital gains or losses (including sale of principal residence), or employment expenses. As well, members should not be preparing any returns for taxpayers who filed for bankruptcy or consumer protection, or died during the taxation year.

No, this exemption is applicable only where no fee is charged to or accepted for preparation of tax returns from anyone.

If you are preparing individual T1 tax returns for a fee, no matter how small the fee or how simple the returns, you are required to obtain a public practice licence to do this work. See the Public Practice Licensing area of the website for details on licensing requirements. 

It’s up to each member to assess their competence for any work, even when volunteering to prepare free tax returns for low-income taxpayers. Members should take, at their own expense, additional training to upgrade their knowledge, if necessary.

Many community organizations already operate free tax return preparation clinics and we encourage members to volunteer with them. However, if members wish to undertake the effort to organize their own free tax clinic, they are certainly welcome to make their own arrangements with regards to venue, promotion, technical, and other support. 

Members organizing their own free tax clinics for low-income taxpayers are still required to apply for the exemption.

We are not since many community organizations already operate their own free tax return preparation clinics, either on their own or with the Canada Revenue Agency through its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

The exemption application is not an application to volunteer with CPABC, nor are we calling for volunteers on behalf of other organizations.