Canadians: Free Income Tax preparation for low-income taxpayers

joyfulguyFebruary 28, 2003

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has the Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Program in which they train volunteers to prepare tax returns for low income taxpayers.

They set up a number of clinics in vets hosp, libraries, mental health centres, churches, community centres, etc. where the volunteers prepare tax returns at advertised times.

Then they put up posters to inform the citizenry of the availablility, locations and times of the service.

Individual taxpayers whose income is under $20,000. qualify for the service, as do couples with incomes under $25,000.

The volunteers may also prepare tax returns for individuals, often in their own homes.

To find out where this service may be offered in or near your community, call the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada).

Phone numbers are in the tax package which you received early in the year, or in the"Taxes" section of the Blue Pages in your telephone book.

It might be a good idea, when the preparation of your tax return is complete, to ask the Volunteer what ways might be available to you in order to reduce your tax load for future years.

Having been a personal financial planner (selling no financial products) for nearly 20 years and a retirement consultant, I've asked some local tax preparers how many of their clients ask them how they might be able to rearrange their affairs in order to reduce their tax load.

I've been surprised to hear that only rarely does this happen.

Seems to me if I felt the need to have a person much more knowledgeable in the income tax system than I prepare my tax, I'd want to find out some possible ways that a I might be able to reduce them.

Good wishes for finding some effective ways of reducing your income tax load (legally, of course). Tax evasion gets you into serious trouble: tax avoidance should be practised by every taxpayer.

joyful guy/Ed

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