Volunteer roles and responsibilities
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A CVITP volunteer can take on many different roles. Volunteering in the program goes beyond those who prepare tax returns.
A person who volunteers with the CVITP may have different roles, such as:
preparing tax returns for eligible individuals
coordinating tax clinics
directing tax clinic traffic
completing other duties at the tax clinic
The 3 key volunteer roles are: tax preparer, greeter, and resource person/lead tax preparer.
Some community organizations may assign one role to each volunteer; meaning one volunteer would be a greeter, while another would be a resource person/lead volunteer, and another a tax preparer. Some organizations, however, may have one volunteer assuming multiple or even all roles.
While the CRA offers training and support, as a volunteer tax preparer you are expected to:
have a basic understanding of how to prepare a tax return
be comfortable with computers
be willing to help people in your community
be compliant with CVITP policies and procedures
be willing to affiliate with a community organization
Based on the type of tax clinics being held, the greeter may be responsible for scheduling appointments and pre-screening individuals.
As a greeter you are expected to:
be compliant with CVITP policies and procedures
possess good communication skills
be able to answer general questions about the organization and the CVITP
The resource person/lead tax preparer usually has strong leadership skills, and may assist with the scheduling and recruiting of new volunteers. The resource person/lead tax preparer is expected to:
be a resource and support for other volunteers
be able to assist with completing returns
be a returning volunteer with the CVITP
In the spirit of the trust and cooperation that the CVITP represents, all volunteers must:
respect the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; meaning you have to be respectful of everyone who comes into the clinic, regardless of their race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, or religion
protect the taxpayer’s privacy and personal information
provide services free of charge and decline any gift or monetary reward that may be offered
follow the suggested threshold criteria for eligible individuals
adhere to the policies and procedures of the CVITP
Taxpayers should feel confident that the information they give you (such as their social insurance number, tax information slips, and receipts) is kept confidential and secure.
Whichever role you may assume, as a CVITP volunteer you are responsible for complying with the following policies and procedures:
Keeping taxpayer information secure
It is critical to the program’s success to ensure organizations and volunteers safeguard taxpayer information and understand their responsibilities in this respect.
You must keep all taxpayer information secure and confidential. Always follow these measures:
Handle the taxpayer's information securely and store it in a locked drawer or cabinet
Return all personal documents to the taxpayer including the TIS60
Do not fill out Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative unless you are participating with Auto-fill my return for the CVITP. You cannot act as an authorized representative for any individual you help through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
Do not save copies of a taxpayer’s return on the hard drive of a computer
In instances where you are unable to transmit a return immediately upon completion:
encrypt returns using the tax software and save the files on a USB flash drive only
If you use tax software that does not encrypt returns, you must use an encrypted USB flash drive
If you use EFILE:
transmit the taxpayer’s return to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) within 48 hours of preparation
erase files from the USB drive no later than 48 hours after the CRA accepts the return
You must format your USB drive to erase the files completely
If you print returns or other documents containing taxpayer information using a shared printer, ensure that you pick them up promptly. Do not leave them for others to see
- Some printers, scanners, and copiers may retain memory
If you are using a personal printer that retains memory, it is important that you clear the memory regularly
If you are using a shared printer, your organization should ensure that the memory is cleared on a regular basis
Do not keep any copies of a taxpayer’s return (paper or electronic)
If you complete a paper return, give it to the taxpayer and tell them to mail it to the CRA
In the event of any type of security breach, such as lost, stolen or compromised data, tell your community organization and your CRA coordinator immediately
Do not use or disclose the taxpayer's information for any purpose other than to complete their return
Getting proof of identity from the taxpayer
You must get proof of identity from the taxpayer before you complete their return. Proof of identity should:
be government issued
include a photo
Examples of valid identification include:
provincial or territorial (or equivalent abroad) driver's license or photo identification
Canadian or foreign passport
Indian status and identification card
military or other government employee identification card
Identifying yourself as a volunteer
Always identify yourself as a CVITP volunteer. Do not present yourself as an employee or representative of the CRA.
Filling out Form TIS60, Taxpayer Authorization
The taxpayer must sign Form TIS60, Taxpayer Authorization, to allow a volunteer to complete their return. If you use the Form TIS60 generated by the UFile software, print the form.
Always get the taxpayer to sign Section I
Always get the taxpayer to sign Section II before you EFILE a return
Always give the completed Form TIS60 to the taxpayer to keep with their records, and tell them not to send it to the CRA
Never keep a copy of a taxpayer's Form TIS60, or send it to the CRA coordinator
Questioning the legitimacy of information provided
If you know or suspect that the information the taxpayer gave you is not accurate or contains omissions, withdraw your services.
Indicating that a volunteer prepared the return
Be sure to enter 1 in box 487 to show that a volunteer prepared the return. This is done automatically if you are using the UFile tax software for CVITP. If you are completing a paper return, box 487 is at the bottom-left on page 4.
Printing the tax return summary
Print the tax return summary and give it to the taxpayer for their records. If you can’t print it, copy the information on to Form T1260, Income Tax and Benefit Return Summary.
Not charging for your services
Remember, you cannot charge for your volunteer services and must decline any offers of monetary reward. Anyone charging a fee will be removed from the program and their CVITP EFILE account will be suspended. If you encounter a situation where fees are being charged, bring this to the attention of your CRA coordinator immediately.
Avoiding a conflict of interest
Do not create a conflict of interest between your work as a volunteer and your private or business activities. Never promote your private or business activities to individuals you serve through the CVITP. If you have an EFILE number for professional use, you must get a separate EFILE number to use for the CVITP.
Using the UFile software for the CVITP only
Do not copy or allow copies to be made of the UFile software
Only use UFile to complete returns for eligible individuals
Do not use the UFile software for monetary gain
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