Need Tax Help? Free Clinics available for many

Tax season has begun! Volunteers across Grey Bruce are available to help people with low or modest incomes file their income tax and benefit returns, potentially earning them money they could be entitled to.

During March and April, dozens of tax clinics across the region are offering filing services¬†-free of charge – through the¬†Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.¬†The clinics are¬†being held at Bruce County libraries, community social organizations and seniors’ centres with drop-off, by appointment or virtual options available.¬†In 2022, the CRA reported 2,430 individuals were assisted to file 2,640 tax returns by 14 community organizations in 20 locations across Bruce County and Grey County.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm proud to once again support the Free Tax Clinics offered across Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound by many local community groups and services.‚ÄĚ MP Alex Ruff, ‚ÄúMy thanks to all these organizations and individuals that make this great service possible for those in need.‚ÄĚ

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force has created a 211 listing @ freetaxclinics.ca or people can call 211 and find a clinic near you.

Benefits being left on the table

Around 10 to 20% of Canadians don’t file their taxes and are missing out on government benefits as a result. Homeowners are most likely to file than renters. And people with lower income are less likely to file than people living above the poverty line. (Financial Resilience Institute, 2022)

‚ÄúBeyond being necessary to qualify for government benefits,¬†such as the Canada Child Benefit or Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors, filing taxes can also open the door to additional financial aid.‚ÄĚ Jill Umbach, Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force, ‚ÄúRent supplements and applications to Rent Geared to Income housing require a statement of your level of income.‚ÄĚ

Eligibility for help from a free tax clinic is based on annual income. The maximum eligible income is $35,000 per year, with the threshold increasing for each additional member of a household. However, adjustments can be made based on local economic factors, according to CRA.

Tax filers must also have a “simple tax situation,” meaning they don’t earn income from self-employment, business, rental, interest, capital gains or foreign sources. They also can’t have declared¬†bankruptcy during the tax year.