Register to volunteer
Do you like helping people, need experience to add to your resume, or simply enjoy doing tax returns? Volunteer at a free tax clinic to complete tax returns for eligible people in your community.
What volunteers do
A Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) volunteer can take on many different roles from organizing free tax clinics and greeting people as they arrive, to completing tax returns for eligible taxpayers. Whether you prepare tax returns or play a supporting role, as a volunteer with the CVITP, you will be helping people who are unable to complete their returns on their own.
There is no limit to how often someone can volunteer with the CVITP. The busiest time is tax season, from the end of February to early May, but many people need help throughout the year.
Some experience doing tax returns is helpful but not required. All volunteers are offered web-based training, on completing tax returns, using tax preparation software, and on their responsibilities as a volunteer. This web-based training can be supplemented with in-person training, or WebEx live sessions.
Volunteers can have either one role or multiple roles. This can be determined later on, once you have been partnered/affiliated with an organization.
Volunteer roles - Definitions
Roles and definitions may vary depending on the organization and the type of clinic being held.
Roles and definitions Support roles Volunteers who help keep the tax clinic running and support the people who are involved in completing returns. Interpreter Responsible for facilitating communication between 2 or more people who use different languages. Greeter The client’s first point of contact. Responsible for welcoming the client to the clinic and directing them to where they need to go. 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. Tax preparer roles Volunteers who complete tax returns for people with a modest income and simple tax situation. Paper Paper file returns. Electronic Electronically file returns. Electronic - with Auto-fill my return Electronically file returns using Auto-fill my return. Lead volunteer
Responsible for coordinating CVITP clinics (for example, scheduling clinic dates and volunteer schedules), supporting other volunteers, and assisting with completing returns.
They also answer questions at clinics and may have any of the other roles listed above.
What is expected from volunteers
1. CVITP volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner. This includes:
protecting taxpayer’s privacy and personal information by following all CVITP security measures
offering services free of charge and declining any monetary reward
meeting CVITP security requirements based on their volunteer role(s)
using CVITP UFile tax software to prepare returns for eligible taxpayers
following CVITP policies and procedures
being respectful of everyone who comes into the clinic, regardless of their race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, or religion
2. CVITP volunteers are expected to be affiliated 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.
What volunteers should know about EFILE and the Auto-fill my return service
In addition to registering as a volunteer with the CVITP, you may need to apply for an EFILE number and a RepID, depending on the volunteer role you decide to take on. The requirements for each role are listed in the chart presented in the Register now section.
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.
Benefits of EFILE include:
faster refunds for taxpayers - Since EFILE cuts out several manual steps, most electronic returns can be processed in as little as 2 weeks
improved accuracy - Before an EFILED return is accepted for processing, a series of computer checks and balances are performed, resulting in greater accuracy
paperless - There are no paper returns to file and, unless receipts are requested, none are needed
If you intend on transmitting returns by EFILE under the CVITP, you must apply for an EFILE number or renew your existing EFILE account.
A volunteer must meet the following requirements in order to have an EFILE application processed:
be 18 years of age or older
be a Canadian resident
have a valid social insurance number (SIN)
not be an undischarged bankrupt or the trustee of an undischarged bankrupt
register first with the CVITP (yearly registration)
Volunteers must also meet certain criteria including being filed up-to-date with their own personal income tax returns. Please refer to the Eligibility page for a complete list of EFILE screening criteria and responsibilities. An EFILE application should be submitted early as it may take up to 30 business days to process it.
Accountants and professional tax preparers must get a separate EFILE number to use for returns they intend to prepare and electronically file under the CVITP.
See the Register now section for the link to apply for EFILE.
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 2017, 2018, and 2019 returns.
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, or may not be able to pass confidentiality requirements to obtain them over the phone.
Volunteers who want to use Auto-fill my return must:
include their representative identification number (RepID) in their CVITP volunteer registration, or provide their RepID to their CRA coordinator, if their CVITP registration was completed without it. To obtain a RepID, log in to the Represent a Client (RaC) portal under Register now
apply for an EFILE account or renew their existing EFILE account
provide their organization with a valid Police records check (PRC)
use the CVITP tax software
Volunteers must meet certain security requirements before they can participate as a volunteer with the CVITP:
Volunteers who only plan to paper file returns or handle taxpayer information will need to provide their organization with a valid PRC that has been issued within the last 3 years
Volunteers who plan to file returns electronically without using Auto-fill my return will only need to obtain an EFILE number
Volunteers who plan to file returns electronically and use Auto-fill my return will need to provide their organization with a valid PRC and obtain an EFILE number
Police records check (PRC)
PRCs are valid for the CVITP if they have been issued within the last 3 years
Volunteers can contact their local police service to complete a PRC. Many checks can be performed online, but a visit to the police station may be required
Once a PRC is obtained, volunteers must provide it to their affiliated community organization. The organization will confirm they have received a valid PRC with the CRA coordinator
Organizations may be able to provide a letter to the volunteer that will allow PRC fees to be waived
In addition to registering as a volunteer with the CVITP, you may need to apply for an EFILE number and a RepID, depending on the volunteer role you decide to take on. The requirements for each role are listed in the chart below.
Volunteer requirements based on your volunteer roles - Support roles
(may include interpreter, greeter, administrator, screener, lead volunteer)
CVITP registration Note 1 EFILE Application/Renewal Note 1 Valid PRC RepID (Represent a Client) Sees/handles taxpayer information Yes No Yes No Does not see/handle taxpayer information Yes No No No Volunteer requirements based on your volunteer roles - Tax preparer roles
Tax preparer roles
(may include lead volunteer) – Filing method
CVITP registration Note 1 EFILE Application/Renewal Note 1 Valid PRC RepID (Represent a Client) Paper Yes No Yes No Electronic Yes Yes No No Electronic with Auto-fill my return Yes Yes Yes Yes Note 2
Although the CVITP volunteer registration is available year round, you must register or renew your registration between the third week of October and the beginning of February to be ready for the upcoming tax-filing season.
Register early to get approved as a CVITP volunteer and for EFILE. Doing so will prevent delays and possibly missing out on important information, such as CVITP training sessions and EFILE news.
To obtain your RepID, log in to the Represent a Client portal.
To register as a CVITP volunteer, fill out the online CVITP registration form.
To apply for an EFILE number, click Apply for EFILE and look under How can I apply? to complete the EFILE Registration Online form.
To renew your EFILE account, click Yearly renewal and look under Yearly renewal, and click log in to access the EFILE log in page.
For more information
To get more information, call 1-800-959-8281.
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