Through their Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), Community Financial Counselling Services’ (CFCS) located in the Norquay Building in Winnipeg, is the largest single tax clinic site in Canada.
The CVITP is a partnership between the Canada Revenue Agency and community organizations, such as CFCS. These community organizations host free tax clinics where they recruit and train volunteers to prepare income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Over 9667 Tax Returns Completed!
In 2018 CFCS tax clinics completed over 9,667 tax returns and helped participants access tax refunds and credits and other benefits amounting to over $27 million!
This would not be possible if it were not for the group of dedicated volunteers. Last year, these volunteers completed over 8500 tax returns in 40 days. To make this possible, it takes up to 90 volunteers working from February 26 until the end of April. The volunteers complete extensive training which also includes specialized training on access to benefits.
Who Qualifies for the Volunteer Income Tax Program?
The CFCS tax clinics serve a wide range of people. This includes people living on low income, newcomers to Canada, students including International students, Indigenous peoples, and seniors. To get help through the CVITP, a person’s income must be below:
- $35,000 for a single person who has no dependents
- $45,000 for a single parent and 1 child plus $2500 per additional dependent
- $45,000 for a couple plus $2,500 per dependent
The criteria to qualify for tax clinics may vary from province to province. Be sure to contact the tax clinic in your area for further information.
CFCS Also Supports 36 Other Organizations
In addition to running the largest tax clinic in Canada, the CFCS supports 36 other organizations. They provide support with planning, volunteer recruitment and training, computer hardware and preparation. They also provide drop-off tax forms to the hosting agencies.
“When we look at what we can provide the community”, says CFCS Financial Counsellor/Financial Literacy & Empowerment Program Coordinator, Sally Massey Wiebe, “tax filing is an essential part of empowering individuals and an opportunity to open other doors to improve financial well-being through accessing income boosting tax credits and benefit programs for eligible households.” Sally continues “If tax returns are not completed, there may be huge gaps in resources and a big detriment to the individual”.
Trained volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Program will help you navigate the tax system and accurately file your return up to 10 years retroactively. Filing on time keeps you from missing out on benefits such as Canada Child Benefit (CCB), Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
“This can be a significant amount of money this tax season.” notes Sally Massey Wiebe.
There are free tax clinics in Canada staffed by trained volunteers to help you this tax season.