The District Municipality of Muskoka’s Community Services Department is calling for volunteers to expand its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for the 2016 Tax Season. This important service operates under the Canada Revenue Agency Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which offers free tax preparation services to individuals and families, seniors and persons with disabilities, with low incomes.
The program in Muskoka is seeking 20-25 individuals with a basic understanding of income tax and willingness to offer their time to help their community. In order to help with the upcoming 2016 tax season, volunteers must register with Canada Revenue Agency as a community volunteer under the District’s community program by January 31, 2016. An information session for volunteers will be held the last week of January and that training will happen in February.
“In past years, free tax clinics were hosted in Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Bracebridge by charitable organizations and individual volunteers. While very successful, estimates suggest that only a fraction of an estimated 5000 eligible Muskoka residents used the service,” explains Rick Williams, District of Muskoka Community Services Commissioner. “Simply stated, there aren’t enough volunteers to meet the demand in all of our communities.”
Volunteering as a tax preparer is a win-win for the volunteer and the community as a whole. Today, the only way for low income persons to continue receiving government benefits (social assistance, Trillium Benefits, GST, Child Tax Benefits, etc.) is to file a tax return and tax preparation fees are often prohibitive. In short, many persons and families miss out on important tax-free income simply because they don’t file an annual tax return.
For more information about the program please visit: http://www.muskoka.on.ca/en/community-and-social-services/Income-Tax-Clinics.aspx . To become a volunteer please contact Helena Johnson, Case Manager at 705-645-2412 extension 1482 as soon as possible to register for the 2016 tax season.