Heather Miller has spent her lunch hour, for the last two months, doing taxes for those who can’t afford to file their income tax returns.
Miller, a senior in her 60’s, voluntarily does tax returns for low-income people as part of the federal government’s Community Volunteer Income Tax program.
“I love doing taxes, I got involved doing taxes on a volunteer basis in 1979 and just kept it up,” said Miller who started doing taxes when she worked for a large mental health organization in the south Okanagan.
This year, she has set up shop at the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Centre, for two hours, five days a week, while lunch is served. So far, she has done 230 paper returns.
“The people that come to me cannot pay to get their taxes done and if they don’t do it they won’t get their GST rebates this year that they are entitled to,” says Miller.
Under the program, Miller can do taxes free of cost for any individual with an income of less than $25,000 or a family with a combined income under $32,000.
“A significant amount of people on welfare or are homeless can’t survive on their welfare cheques, let alone pay to get their taxes back,” says Miller. “It’s a really neat group of people who come here and you get to know them over the years. They’re grateful because they know they’re going to get their GST rebate and when you’ve got three kids to feed, they know they’re going to need it.”
She will also direct clients to other government services they could benefit from and helps them with the paperwork.
Those who are eligible and would like to take advantage of the Community Volunteer Income Tax program, can visit Miller at the Lighthouse Centre (1381 Cedar St.) next week, Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. until April 30. To get help filing your taxes after the deadline, you can reach Miller by contacting the Salvation Army church, 250-287-3720.