Reference material for CVITP volunteers

Thank you for participating in the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

Volunteer guidelines

Keep taxpayer information secure

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
  • Do not fill out Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative as 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
    • 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, use an encrypted USB flash drive
  • If you use EFILE:
  • You must format your USB drive to erase the files completely
  • 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 Canada Revenue Agency
  • 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 divulge the taxpayer's information for any purpose other than to complete their return
Get 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 valid
  • be government issued
  • include a photo

Here are examples of valid identification:

  • provincial or territorial (or equivalent abroad) driver's license or photo identification
  • Canadian or foreign passport
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • military or other government employee identification card
Determine if the taxpayer is eligible for help

Individuals must have a modest income and a simple tax situation. Community organizations may also establish additional criteria.

To determine modest income, use the following chart.

Chart: suggested income level
Family size Total family income
1 person $30,000
2 persons $40,000
3 persons $42,500
4 persons $45,000
5 persons $47,500
more than 5 persons $47,500 plus $2,500 for each additional person

You should not complete returns for individuals who:

  • are self-employed or have employment expenses
  • have business income and expenses (unless income is in box 048 on a T4A slip and less than $1,000 with no related expenses)
  • have rental income and expenses
  • have interest income over $1,000
  • have capital gains or losses
  • filed for bankruptcy
  • are completing a tax return for a deceased person

You are not expected to answer complex tax questions. If a taxpayer needs information beyond your expertise, refer them to canada.ca/taxes or 1-800-959-8281.

Identify yourself as a volunteer

Identify yourself as a volunteer. Do not represent yourself as an employee or representative of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Fill 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 Canada Revenue Agency
  • Never keep a copy of a taxpayer's Form TIS60, or send it to the CRA coordinator
What to do if you suspect you were given false information

If you know or suspect that the information the taxpayer gave you is not accurate or contains omissions, withdraw your services.

Count yourself in!

Enter "1" in box 487 to show that a volunteer prepared the return. This is done automatically if you are using the tax software. Box 487 is at the bottom-left on page 4 of the paper return.

Box 487 with a 1 entered in it
Print 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.

Do not charge for your services

You cannot charge for your volunteer services and must decline any offers of monetary reward. Anyone found charging a fee will be removed from the program. Their CVITP EFILE account will also be suspended.

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. You must get a separate EFILE number to use for the CVITP.

Use 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

Dedicated help line for volunteers

Volunteers can contact the dedicated help line if they have individual income tax questions. The help line is open from February to April.

The tax preparation software and EFILE

Go to tax software and EFILE for CVITP to find out how to:

  • set up and use the tax preparation software
  • follow EFILE procedures
  • get UFile and EFILE help
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