Free tax prep helps low income earners

Program includes Virden, Elkhorn

If you do your own taxes, do you ever worry that you’ve missed an important deduction or some other way to reduce your tax payable?

Did you know that a family of four earning less than $50,000 is eligible to have their taxes done for free?

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If hiring an accountant or tax service is not in your budget, there’s a free tax preparation service called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

The Canada Revenue Agency has offered this service to help low-income earners for nearly 50 years. They partner with Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) and volunteers in the community to do basic tax returns.

The program started up for another year on March 11 at Border Regional Library in Virden and Elkhorn Leisure Centre, and about 20 other locations in Westman.

ELIGIBILITY

You can get your income tax return completed for free through the program if you fall into one of the following categories:

• One person with an income under $35,000

• Two persons with an income under $45,000

• Three persons with an income under $47,500

For each additional dependent, add $2,500.

The free service is limited to basic tax returns; no business, rental or farm income can be processed, no bankruptcy or deceased returns, no capital gains or losses, and any investment income has to be less than $1,000.

Brett Turner is the program’s spokesperson from PMH. He says you’ll need your t-slips as well as medical, rent, RRSP, tuition receipts, and identification. It would also be helpful if you brought last year’s notice of assessment, but is not mandatory.

He says, “PMH is involved because of the understanding that income impacts health and filing a tax return gets people access to many benefit programs that will increase their income.”

Last year in the Prairie Mountain Health region, the total money in benefits and refunds to those who used the program to complete their taxes was more than $7 million with the average return to an individual client around $3,441.

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS

You can volunteer as a tax preparer under the program, and you don’t need extensive experience.

All you’ll require is experience filing tax returns for yourself or family, a basic understanding of how tax works, access to a computer and internet, be over 18 years of age, and in good standing with the CRA. You would be expected to volunteer a couple of hours a week during March and April.

WHERE AND WHEN

Virden:

Border Regional Library, 312 7th Ave.

Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 a.m. - 5: 30 p.m.

Thurs: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Drop Off Dates: March 11 to April 30

Elkhorn:

Elkhorn Leisure Centre - 10 Richhill Ave.

Weekdays: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Drop Off Dates: March 11 to April 30

 

 

 

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