Free tax clinics go virtual
May 12, 2020 Ottawa Canada Revenue Agency
COVID-19: Payment deadline extension - Updated: July 27, 2020
The CRA has further extended the payment due date for current year individual income tax returns, as well as for instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made and returns are filed by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020.
Free tax clinics are important to communities throughout Canada. Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many community organizations had to close, postpone, or scale back on the free tax clinics they offer.
Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that virtual clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those that rely on this service while still following physical distancing guidelines. Clinics will have new flexibility to receive and authenticate documents in a variety of ways, including allowing the use of video communication.
These free tax clinics, where eligible people can have community volunteers file their taxes, will be offered by local organizations, in partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) and the joint CRA and Revenu Québec Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.
We hope that by going virtual, community organizations will have the opportunity to host clinics before the June 1, 2020 filing deadline and beyond.
“By filing a tax return, Canadians can get benefits and credits that can significantly improve their quality of life. I am reassured to see that tax clinics will now be able to provide virtual services to continue supporting vulnerable Canadians. I want to thank the community organizations and their volunteers for their work in helping others during this difficult time.”
-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
“The Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program has a major impact on the lives of thousands of low-income individuals in Quebec. The measures announced today will make it possible to help taxpayers through online and telephone tax clinics.”
– Eric Girard, Quebec Minister of Finance
The tax filing season has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020 as part of the Government of Canada’s measures to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of COVID-19. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 1, 2020.
CRA is working with partner organizations to make sure these virtual clinics are safe and secure and that private information is protected.
Volunteer tax programs help people with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.
Trained volunteers prepare income tax and benefit returns free of charge. For virtual clinics, this can be done by videoconference or by phone.
During the 2018-2019 CVITP program year alone, more than 19,240 volunteers and 3,560 community organizations filed over 835,200 tax returns for individuals across Canada, and helped over 741,400 individuals.
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
Canada Revenue Agency
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