The volunteer program offers the opportunity for residents with low income to have their income tax done for free.
“People with low income should not have to pay to have their taxes done,” said Burt Amiro, one of the local program
The program has been in the Truro area for more than 20 years, estimated Amiro, and more than 1,650 made use of it last year.
“When you get that many (people), you can see how important it is. It gets more popular every year,” he said.
Volunteers are required in order to serve the high demand. Early last week, 18 people were registered as volunteers. That compares to 22 last year.
“It’s important to get more volunteers because we’re losing some of the older volunteers (and) in order to fully staff the clinics, we need more people. The more people we have, the more taxes we can do,” said Amiro.
Volunteers will receive online training and are expected to arrive knowing how to fill out a basic tax form.
“It’s not difficult because you already know how to do the basics. It’s learning some new things and maybe details you may not be aware of,” Amiro added.
To volunteer, call 1-855-516-4405. And although volunteers do not work for Canada Revenue Agency, the organization will be available for any assistance required.
As far as residents seeking help with their income tax, clinics will open March 3 at the Truro library, on designated days and times, and run until the end of April. After the deadline, some sessions will be accepted by appointment. People are eligible if they have an income of $25,000 or less a year, earn $30,000 combined as a couple, or bring in $35,000 a year and have dependents.
Estella Wilson, another local co-ordinator, added a “combination of everyone” – all ages and both sexes – made use of the program last year.
And, although both paper and online taxes are completed, more and more taxes are being done on the computer.
“We are living in a computer world,” said Wilson.
The co-ordinators remind people to bring medical and travel receipts as part of their paperwork, as well as charitable donations.
Students attending university and college should also bring a 2201 form from school. Post-secondary students can claim full or part-time studies and receive benefits for books, tuition and “a certain amount per month of studies,” said Amiro, adding the overall accuracy rate of the income tax program is “99 per cent.”
What: Community volunteer income tax program
Where: Truro library
Dates available: March 3, 10 and 24 between 5 and 8 p.m.; March 5 and 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.; March 7, 14 and 28 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
April 7, 11, 18, 28 and 30 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; April 14 and 21 from 5 to 8 p.m.; April 16 between 1 to 4 p.m.
Reminder: If you are not sure if something can be claimed, bring the documents anyway. Also, if you have a disability, let the volunteer know because you may be entitled to specific refunds.