Volunteer Free Tax Clinic Returns to Swan Hills

Well, it’s that time of year again… tax season! Oh boy.

While income taxes can be tricky to figure out, there’s help available for people with a modest income and a relatively uncomplicated tax situation.

Starting on March 13, Swan Hills Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is offering free tax clinics to assist eligible individuals to complete their 2022 income tax return. FCSS will provide this service until November 30, 2023, and can assist with returns from the last two years but cannot complete returns for deceased individuals. This service is being offered as part of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), a cooperative partnership between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), community organizations, and their volunteers. The CVITP began in 1971.

Individuals must have a modest income and a simple tax situation to qualify for the CVITP. According to the information on the CRA website, eligible individuals for this program include:

· Indigenous Peoples

· Newcomers and refugees

· Persons with disabilities

· Seniors

· Youth/Students

· Individuals with a modest income

The information on the CRA website defines a simple tax situation as one where the individual has no income or if they derive their income from:

· Employment

· Pension

· Benefits (Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Disability Insurance, Employment Insurance, and Social Assistance)

· Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)

· Support Payments

· Scholarships, Fellowships, Bursaries, or Grants

· Interest (under $1000)

For more information about the CVITP program, please visit the Government of Canada website on free tax clinics (canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/community-volunteer-income-tax-program/lend-a-hand-individuals/about.html).

Swan Hills FCSS’s tax clinics are available to eligible individuals by appointment. Two appointments will be necessary to complete an individual’s tax return. The first appointment will take about 15 minutes to go through the individual’s tax documents and collect any required information to complete the individual’s tax return. The second appointment, also about 15 minutes, will be for the individual to pick up and sign their completed tax return.

Swan Hills FCSS completed 73 income tax returns for their free tax clinic clients last year, bringing in over $257,000 in benefits and returns to Swan Hills community members.

Please contact Swan Hills FCSS at (780) 333-4119 for more information or to make an appointment. Visit the Swan Hills FCSS Facebook page (facebook.com/SwanHillsFCSS) for the latest news about their programs and services.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette