Tax returns stuck in limbo for 50,000 teachers who applied for a school-supply tax credit

Elementary and junior high school teacher Kajsa Hansen said she was counting on her expected $12,467 tax refund to pay upcoming bills, such as a new battery for her motorized wheelchair.

But now the Calgary resident figures she'll have to rack up those charges on her credit card. That's because her refund is on hold due to a tax credit she claimed, which, it turns out, has yet to be approved.

"It makes me angry and frustrated," said Hansen, who has a genetic condition that affects her mobility.

"Why is [the credit] there as something that I can claim if I can't actually claim it?" she said. "There was no warning."

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is holding back approximately 50,000 teachers' tax returns, the agency confirmed with CBC News — all because of a tax credit they claimed for school supplies purchased for their students.

In what's known as the Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit, the federal government has upped the maximum rebate teachers can receive from $150 to $250. The problem is, that the increase is included in new legislation (Bill C-8) which has yet to be passed in Parliament.

Until the bill becomes law, teachers who applied for the credit won't be getting their tax refund.

"It's not just the tax credit, it's the whole process of any other refund that they have is now being delayed because their returns are being put aside. And that's just not right," said Sam Hammond, the president of the Canadian Teachers Federation. "Some of them need that money."

Elementary school teacher Chelsea Turcotte of Edmonton had hoped to use part of her expected $4,061 tax refund to cover a spike in her utility costs. But when she learned her return is in limbo, she had to make other plans.

"I've had to ask my mom for a loan," Turcotte said, near tears. "It just breaks my heart that I have to go to that step but that's where it is right now."

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