Free tax preparation available

 

For qualified applicants

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Pierre Pelletier, Melita New Era

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “There are only two certainties in life - death and taxes.” And since death only comes around once but taxes are knocking at your door every year, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone help you with your return - financial that is.

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is a free service spearheaded by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Since 1973 it’s goal has remained the same: to help low-income individuals with simple tax situations complete and file their income tax and benefit return. The CRA partners with groups such as the Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region to help facilitate the program.

They’ve been working together since 2001.

“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,” said Brett Turner, CVIPT Lead from PMH.

Last year in the Prairie Mountain Health region, the total money in benefits and refunds to residents who used CVITP to complete their taxes was $7,453,817 with the average return to an individual client around $3,441.

Added Turner, “We completed over 2800 returns in 2018.”

There are some restrictions. You can get your income tax return completed for free through the program if you fall under 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, you need to add $2,500.

Additionally, said Turner, they don’t do “...business, rental or farm income (tax returns). No bankruptcy or decreased returns. No capital gains or losses. Investment income (must be) under $1000. We only do simple ones (tax returns).”

If you qualify, there are drop off location in Souris and Hartey starting March 11 to April 30: Souris Valley Recreation Office, 32 3rd Avenue West, Weekdays: 9 a.m. – Noon and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and in Hartney at the Hartney Town Office, 209 Airdrie Street, Weekdays:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

According to Turner, you’ll need your t-slips and any medical (receipts), rent, RRSP, and tuition receipts. It would also be helpful if you brought last year’s notice of assessment, but it is not mandatory. They also need to see some form of identification.

On the other side of the desk, there’s also a way you can volunteer - and you don’t need extensive experience. If you are interested in volunteering as a tax preparer for CITVP, you’ll require: 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.

If you have questions about having your tax return completed for free through the Community Income Tax Volunteer Program or would be interested in volunteering, contact Brett Turner at BTurner2@pmh-mb.ca or call 204-578-4812 or 204-578-4800.

Souris Valley Recreation Office, 32 3rd Avenue West, Weekdays: 9 a.m. – Noon and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and in Hartney at the Hartney Town Office, 209 Airdrie Street, Weekdays:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00  p.m.

 

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