Before you register – important information
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 or completing other duties at the tax clinic.
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.
Most organizations are in need of tax preparers, greeters, and resource person/lead tax preparers.
As a volunteer tax preparer you will complete tax returns for people with a modest income and simple tax situation.
You can choose to complete the returns by paper, electronic (EFILE) or electronic using Auto-fill my return.
While the CRA offers training and support, you are expected to have a basic understanding of how to prepare a tax return and be comfortable with computers, if choosing either electronic method.
As a greeter you will be the client's first point of contact. Responsible for welcoming the client to the clinic and directing them to where they need to go.
Based on the type of tax clinics being held, the greeter may be responsible for scheduling appointments and pre-screening individuals.
You are expected to possess good communication skills and be able to answer general questions about the organization and the CVITP.
Resource person/lead tax preparer
The resource person/lead tax preparer may assist with the scheduling and recruiting of new volunteers, coordinating CVITP clinics (for example, scheduling clinic dates and volunteer schedules), supporting other volunteers, and assisting with completing returns.
For this role you are expected to have strong leadership skills, be a resource and support for other volunteers, be able to assist with completing returns and be a returning volunteer with the CVITP.
Other support roles
Interpreter - Responsible for facilitating communication between 2 or more people who use different languages.
Administrator - Responsible for appointment-booking, reminder calls, space booking, and other administrative activities.
Screener - Responsible for ensuring clients have the proper paperwork, helping clients organize their paperwork, and initiating the flow in a clinic.
Whichever role you choose, as a CVITP volunteer you must comply with the following policies and procedures:
Affiliate with a CVITP community organization
Volunteers wishing to participate in free tax clinics must do so through a CVITP community organization. You do not need to be a member of an organization to participate with it, and you can be affiliated with more than one organization. If you are unable to affiliate with an organization on your own, a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) coordinator can help by providing you with a list of CVITP organizations in your area that are looking for volunteers.
For more information on the different types of community organizations you can get involved with, please go to About free tax clinics.
CVITP requirements based on volunteer role
Volunteers must meet certain requirements before they can participate as a volunteer with the CVITP, depending on the role you choose. If you will be assuming more than one role, register for the role that has the highest requirements. More information on the requirements can be found on the "Register to volunteer" page.
Participation in Canada
You must be physically located in Canada to volunteer in a CVITP clinic setting and/or file returns for eligible clients.
Professional and respectful conduct
CVITP volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. You are also expected to 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.
CVITP volunteers are required to complete training and follow the CVITP procedures outlined in the training.
Keep taxpayer information secure and confidential
It is critical to the program's success to ensure organizations and volunteers safeguard taxpayer information and understand their responsibilities in this respect.
Do not charge 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.
Identify yourself as a volunteer
Always identify yourself as a CVITP volunteer. Do not present yourself as an employee or representative of the CRA.
Avoid 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.
EFILE and the Auto-fill my return service
Depending on the volunteer role you choose, you may need to apply for an EFILE number and/or a RepID (for Auto-fill my return). The requirements for each role are listed on the Register to Volunteer page.
EFILE for electronic filers
EFILE is an automated service that permits those who complete tax returns on behalf of others to electronically file returns directly to the CRA using EFILE-certified tax preparation software.
If you intend on electronically filing returns by EFILE under the CVITP, you must apply for an EFILE number or renew your existing EFILE account.
In order to have an EFILE application processed you must meet certain requirements. Please refer to the information here EFILE screening criteria.
In addition to the EFILE requirements, please note you must:
- Register/renew with the CVITP first
- Accountants and professional tax preparers must obtain a separate EFILE number to use for returns they intend to prepare and electronically file under the CVITP.
- An EFILE application should be submitted early as it may take up to 30 business days to process.
Auto-fill my return
Auto-fill my return is a secure CRA service that can be used to automatically fill in parts of a taxpayer’s federal income tax and benefit return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing. This service can be used by CVITP volunteers when completing returns for 2017 and onward.
The CRA encourages the use of Auto-fill my return as it reduces the margin for error and helps to ensure accuracy. It also improves service to taxpayers who may not have copies of all of their slips when they go to a free tax clinic.
If you intend to use Auto-fill my return you must:
- include your representative identification number (RepID) in your CVITP volunteer registration, or provide your RepID to your CRA coordinator, if your CVITP registration was completed without it.
- apply for an EFILE account or renew your existing EFILE account
- provide your organization with a valid Police records check (PRC)
- use the CVITP tax software
Police records check (PRC)
Depending on the role you choose, you may need to obtain a police records check (PRC).
A PRC can be issued through any police service, including municipal and regional police forces, or through a private company that provides personal background checks. Typically, there is a cost associated with obtaining a PRC. However, your organization may be able to provide you with a letter that will allow PRC fees to be waived or reduced.
Once a PRC is obtained, you must provide it to your affiliated community organization. The organization will confirm they have received a valid PRC with the CRA coordinator.
Please note that if you have a current PRC, issued within the last 3 years, it is valid for the CVITP and a new one is not required.
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