Webinar - The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) Grant

Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired on January 17, 2024. For the most recent information on these topics, go to Grant for hosting free tax clinics - Canada.ca.


The CVITP (Community Volunteer Income Tax Program) Grant

Lesley: Hello, and welcome. My name is Lesley. I’m with the Canada Revenue Agency, or the CRA for short. I’m very happy to be here today to talk about the grant for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program or the CVITP.

If you’re in Quebec, the program is known as the Income tax assistance – Volunteer Program or ITAVP.

We’ll go over how to find out if you’re eligible for the CVITP Grant, and how to apply.

[The CRA Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) logo with the text “People helping people” in the centre.]

Land acknowledgement

Lesley: I’d like to begin by acknowledging that I am in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi'kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1726. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

Given that we’re meeting virtually, I also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered from coast to coast and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself.

Topics we will cover

Lesley: The CVITP Grant helps community organizations increase their free tax-filing services. This could mean hosting a clinic for the first time, or expanding an existing clinic to help more people.

Either way, the funding helps offset costs associated with running these clinics.

During today’s presentation, I’ll be answering some basic questions about the CVITP Grant.

We’ll review eligibility criteria so you can take steps to ensure your organization qualifies.

We’ll then see how funding amounts are determined and how much you can expect to receive.

Then, we’ll look at how and what you’ll need to apply.

Finally, I’ll share some timelines to give you an idea of when to expect payment.

Is my organization eligible for the CVITP Grant?

Lesley: To qualify for the CVITP Grant, your organization needs to be registered and approved in the CVITP, or the ITAVP if you’re in Quebec. You must have at least two registered and approved volunteers for your organization. You must also have a CVITP Organization Identification Number, also known as a COIN. Your organization must use the COIN on every return completed.

Once these foundational pieces are in place, you’ll have to make sure you’ve provided free tax filing services during the activity period of June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2024. And, you must file a minimum of 10 returns.

Grant funding is provided retroactively, which means before you can apply, your organization must host free tax clinics.

Finally, applications will open on May 1, 2024, and you need to make sure to apply before June 30, 2024. Once your application is reviewed, you’ll get a determination letter telling you whether it has been approved.

The CVITP Organization Identification Number (COIN)

Lesley: The CVITP Organization Identification Number, or COIN, is a unique, eight-digit identification number assigned to all approved organizations that participate in the program. The COIN counts the number of federal income tax returns an organization files electronically using the provided tax software.

The COIN is mandatory if your organization plans to apply for CVITP Grant funding. Only returns filed using the COIN will be counted towards the amount you will receive through the CVITP Grant.

An organization keeps the same COIN year to year even if it takes a break from participating in the CVITP. The COIN is only accepted in the software we provide.

You can find instructions on how to enter your COIN in the online CVITP learning guide.

There are two ways you can file tax returns using the COIN:

There is no way to add the COIN after the fact if a volunteer forgets to enter it before submitting a tax return. We introduced the COIN in 2020, and it’s not possible to use it to count tax returns from 2019 or earlier.

The COIN doesn’t collect any information from individual tax returns. It's only a counter used to apply for the CVITP Grant.

If you have not received your COIN, it will be included in your program registration approval email. If you misplace your COIN, contact your local CVITP coordinator.

If your organization doesn’t plan to apply for grant funding, using the COIN is optional. Your organization can still file tax returns without it. However, we encourage all organizations to use it because it helps improve data collection and reporting within the program.

Types of eligible organizations

Lesley: Organizations eligible for the grant include non-profits, charities, or other types of community organizations.

Some examples of the types of organizations that participate in the program and are considered eligible include:

Organizations ineligible for grant funding

Lesley: Non-community or non-volunteer based organizations that normally operate for profit cannot receive funding from the CVITP Grant. It’s important to make sure the name of your organization is not that of a for-profit business.

Also, if your organization operates under the office of a municipal counselor or a Federal or Provincial member of Parliament, you cannot receive the grant.

We want to avoid situations where it is perceived that a for-profit business or an organization linked to political figures receives the grant.

How is grant funding determined?

Lesley: Funding amounts for the grant are based on three main factors:

The first factor is the number of federal returns filed by volunteers affiliated with your organization. This includes returns prepared on the program-provided software and submitted electronically through EFILE and those printed and mailed. In your grant application, you must report the total number of returns filed. This means if you are applying for the grant, you must keep track of what was filed.

We will use the COIN to verify the number your organization reports on its grant application. Organizations may file returns for previous years using the COIN starting with the 2020 version of the software.

The second factor is the total government assistance your organization receives. This is the total federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal funding received by an organization for running a free tax clinic. All grant applicants must disclose this amount. We take this into account during the funding calculation. You don’t need to include any CVITP Grants your organization has received previously from the CRA, or the provincial Revenu Québec grant.

Finally, we consider other factors based on government priorities. For example, conditional amounts are being provided this year for operating within a northern prescribed zone, within a rural and remote area and serving Indigenous communities.

How much funding are we eligible for?

Lesley: In May 2023, we updated the funding formula to increase the amount of money awarded to eligible organizations through the grant each year.

Under the new formula, all organizations receive a base amount of funding. The base amount is $500 for organizations that file 10 to 49 returns or $1,500 for organizations that file 50 or more returns, plus $5 per federal tax return filed.

There are also three supplemental amounts of $250 each, for organizations that serve Indigenous communities or that operate in northern or, rural and remote communities.

We deduct the total government assistance from the total grant to be received. The maximum funding available to each organization is capped at $30,000. Your organization can get this amount if it files between 5,500 and 5,700 returns. 


Lesley: Here’s an example of a funding calculation. This organization filed 339 returns last year and served Indigenous clients. They also received $1,000 from their municipal government to host free tax clinics:

Since they filed 50 or more returns, their base amount would be $1,500.

We would then add $5 for each federal tax return filed, for a total of $1,695 (5 x 339).

We then add the conditional amount of $250, since the organization served Indigenous communities.

This brings the total grant amount for this organization to $3,445.

Lastly, we need to deduct the total government assistance they received from either a federal, provincial or municipal government for their tax clinic. Only funds received from one of these levels of government should be included in this amount. Grants from Revenu Québec for the purposes of free tax filing services and previous CVITP Grant amounts received should not be included.

After deducting the total government assistance, this organization would receive $2,445 from the CVITP Grant.

How do we apply?

Lesley: The application period for the CVITP Grant is normally from May 1 to June 30 each year. To complete an application, your organization will require the following:

With this information in hand, you can apply for the CVITP Grant by clicking the green “Apply for the CVITP Grant” button which can be found on either the main page of the CVITP Grant, or the sub-page “How to Apply.”

Be sure to read through the information on our webpages, including the How to Apply section and the CVITP Grant Terms and Conditions which can be found at canada.ca/free-tax-clinics-grant.

When can we expect payment?

Lesley: In each of the first two years of the CVITP grant program, payments went out early the following calendar year.

This year’s application period closed July 31, 2023. Since then we’ve been finalizing the approval of our qualified grant recipients. The next step will be to send decision letters to both approved and denied applicants. If approved, we’ll also send you a funding agreement which you’ll need to sign and return within a specific timeframe. This agreement will ask for a bank account with a Canadian institution that accepts direct deposit. Your funding will be deposited into this account.

We hope to send payments in the fall to allow better planning for organizations going into tax season. We know these funds are important to your organization. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you!

Lesley: This is the end of the webinar. Thank you for joining us today! We hope we helped you gain a better understanding of the CVITP Grant.

For more information , visit canada.ca/free-tax-clinics-grant.

Today’s presentation will be posted on the CRA’s video gallery at canada.ca/individuals-video-gallery within a few weeks of our broadcast if you need a refresher.

We also encourage you to visit our Upcoming Events page at canada.ca/cra-outreach-events to view and register for any of our upcoming webinars.

You can also send your questions about the CVITP Grant to CVITPGRANTG@cra-arc.gc.ca.

Thank you, and have a great day!

Stay connected:

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[Four individuals in an office smiling and waving at the camera.]

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