The federal Minister of National Revenue spotlighted the work of local volunteers while announcing the infusion of an additional $1 million dollars into the government’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Preparation program.
Minister Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay and North Island MP John Duncan appeared last Thursday at the Campbell River Women’s Centre, one of at least four locations in the community where CVITP volunteers assist low-income and other needy taxpayers will completing and filing their annual returns.
“We’re very proud of our Community Volunteer Income Tax program, which is now in its 44th year of operation,” said Findlay. “And our hosts here (in Campbell River) are celebrating the 10th year of their involvement with CVITP, so that’s a very successful partnership helping many people.”
Under the CVITP program, volunteers are trained to provide tax-preparation assistance at no cost to eligible filers. Those typically eligible for the program are those with modest incomes and simple tax situations and include seniors, students, First Nations members, newcomers to Canada, those receiving social assistance and persons with disabilities.
“We have three on our staff who do income taxes, one of them over at the advocacy centre, which is under our umbrella,” said Ellen Latta, board member for the Women’s Centre. “Also, the Welcome Centre and the Salvation Army also do the free income tax, so it’s a real blessing in this town.”
Nationwide, the Canada Revenue Agency partners with roughly 2,000 community organizations to provide CVITP services, which helped 600,000 residents with tax filing in 2014.
“This allows taxpayers to understand and meet their tax obligations,” said Findlay. “It also helps them take advantage of our government’s tax-relief measures and benefits.”
The $1 million added to the program in 2015 will be used to expand technology and provide additional support to volunteers, including a dedicated toll-free phone service dedicated to CVITP volunteers; more access to online filing and direct deposit options; the My CRA mobile app; and a pair of promotional videos — one for volunteers, another for those seeking services — accessible at www.cra.gc.ca.
“You can be proud knowing the hours you invest as a CVITP volunteer make a real difference in the lives of people in the community who need your help,” Findlay said. “We look forward to the next 10 years of partnership with the Campbell River Women’s Centre.”