New support for organizations hosting free tax clinics
January 7, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency recognizes the value of free tax clinics that help Canadians do their taxes so they can get the benefit and credits they are entitled to. We also know the costs of running these clinics can be a challenge for organizations who want to participate.
To support these organizations, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, is pleased to announce that the CRA will invest more than $10 million over three years in a new grant program to help organizations offset some of their costs. The program will also be available to organizations in Quebec that host clinics through the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program in collaboration with Revenu Quebec.
Currently, community organizations that run tax clinics must cover the costs, which increase as the clinics help more and more Canadians complete their income tax and benefit returns. Expenses include such things as office stationery, printers, document shredders and many other incidental expenses to support their dedicated volunteers. Recognizing the challenges of COVID-19, related costs including personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and plexiglass dividers will also be covered under the grant program. The CRA expects that the grant program will make the work for these free tax clinics a little easier and encourage more organizations to sign up. This will let them help more taxpayers to file their tax returns.
Starting in February 2021, organizations that plan to apply for the grant need to track their tax clinic expenses and the number of tax returns that their volunteers complete. The CRA will start accepting applications in May 2021. This pilot project will run for three years. To learn more about the CVITP grant program, visit canada.ca/free-tax-clinics-grant.
“We are so thankful to the community organizations that continue to offer free tax clinics despite the challenges related to COVID-19 that we are facing this tax season. This grant stems from our People First approach to service and shows the CRA’s continuing support for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Participating organizations, whether they’ve been working with the CRA for years or are signing up the first time, should get ready to apply for the grant in May 2021.”
-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
During the 2019-2020 program year, more than 18,970 volunteers and 3,810 community organizations filed over 467,500 tax returns for individuals across Canada and helped over 407,410 individuals. Since May 2020, an additional 180,000 tax returns have been filed through virtual tax clinics.
Volunteer tax programs help people with 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, by phone or through a document drop-off arrangement.
The CRA is working with partner organizations to make sure these virtual clinics are safe and secure and that private information is protected.
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
Canada Revenue Agency
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