Before you register – important information
A person who volunteers with the CVITP can participate as a tax preparer, a coordinator, or in a support role.
Some community organizations may assign one role to each volunteer, while others may assign multiple roles to one person.
Most organizations are looking for tax preparers and coordinators.
As a volunteer tax preparer you will do taxes for people with a modest income and simple tax situation. Some organizations are offering in-person and/or virtual tax clinics so you may have the opportunity to volunteer at either.
You can choose to file returns electronically using CVITP software, or on paper. If you file electronically, you can also choose to use the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service.
The CRA offers training and support. However, if you are filing returns electronically, you should be comfortable with computers and have a basic understanding of how to do taxes.
As a coordinator, you will be the primary contact with the CRA, communicate with and assist volunteers, organize and schedule tax clinics, prepare and/or file returns, provide training, review tax information, and distribute software activation keys.
Volunteers in support roles provide general assistance and do not prepare and/or file tax returns. Depending on your support role, you may handle and/or have access to taxpayer information. Support roles include:
- Greeter: is the taxpayer’s first point of contact at in-person clinics.
- Interpreter: facilitates communication between the taxpayer and volunteer by acting as a translator.
- Screener: ensures taxpayers have the required paperwork and helps organize documents. Screeners may also help to ensure taxpayers meet program eligibility criteria.
- Administrator: schedules appointments, makes follow-up calls, books space for tax clinics, and performs other administrative tasks.
As a CVITP volunteer, you must:
Affiliate with a CVITP community organization
Volunteers must participate through a CVITP community organization. You do not need to be a member of the organization. You can be affiliated with more than one organization. If assistance is required, the CRA’s coordinators can help match volunteers with an organization.
Meet requirements based on your role
CVITP volunteers must meet the requirements of their role before they can participate. If you are assuming more than one role, register for the role that has the highest level of requirements.
Be located in Canada
You must be physically located in Canada to volunteer in a CVITP clinic setting and/or file returns for eligible clients.
Act professionally and respectfully
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. Therefore, you must respect all CVITP participants regardless of their race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, or religion.
Do required training
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.
Not charge for services
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 it 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 for the CVITP.
EFILE and the Auto-fill my return service
Depending on your volunteer role, you may need to apply for an EFILE number and/or a RepID (to use Auto-fill my return).
EFILE for electronic filers
EFILE is an automated service that permits those who complete tax returns on behalf of others to electronically send returns directly to the CRA using EFILE-certified tax software.
To electronically file returns as a CVITP volunteer you must apply for an EFILE number or renew your existing EFILE account. Submit your EFILE application/renewal early as it may take up to 30 business days to process.
- Ensure you complete your CVITP registration before registering for, or renewing, your EFILE number.
- Accountants and professional tax preparers must obtain a separate EFILE number for returns they prepare and electronically file under the CVITP.
To have your EFILE application processed, you must meet certain requirements.
Auto-fill my return
Auto-fill my return is a secure online service that automatically fills in parts of a taxpayer’s federal income tax and benefit return. It uses 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 their slips.
If you intend to use Auto-fill my return you must:
- include your representative identification number (RepID) in your CVITP volunteer registration. Or if your CVITP registration was completed without it, provide your RepID to your CRA coordinator.
- apply for an EFILE account or renew your existing EFILE account.
- provide your organization with a valid police records check.
- use the CVITP tax software.
Police records check (PRC)
Depending on the role you choose, you may need a police records check.
These 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 records check. However, your organization may be able to provide you with a letter that will waive or reduce fees.
Once you get your police records check provide it to your affiliated community organization. The organization will confirm they have received it with the CRA coordinator.
For the CVITP, police records checks are valid as long as they’ve been issued within three years.
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