T4A’s, T2202’s, receipts, invoices and other assorted documents can all get a bit unwieldy during tax season, but for nearly a decade, a core group of volunteers have been helping Boundary residents sort through the paper work to get their information in on time.
Beginning next week, volunteers will set up shop in Greenwood at Community Futures, and in Grand Forks at Gospel Chapel, ServiceBC and the Grand Forks and District Public Library to help people file their 2019 tax returns.
“We focus on simplicity,” said program coordinator Lorraine Dick. “For the most part, our clients come in if they’re collecting welfare, or have one job or two,” Dick said. Volunteers can handle basic issues around reporting on Canada Pension Plan, Old-Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement incomes. Volunteers at the free Boundary tax clinics are unable to help clients who own businesses, have previously filed for bankruptcy, or are dealing with taxes of someone who is deceased.
Last year, just between March and April, the team of under 10 volunteers handled 442 tax files. The year before, 440.
At most clinics, “Everybody comes in, all at the same time, and we hand out the forms to begin filling out – privacy is already ingrained in it,” Dick said. “Nobody sees anybody else’s paperwork. They’re just filling out forms and handing us papers. It’s all really rather amazingly confidential.”
Filing taxes, particularly for low income earners, is imperative to being able to qualify for GST rebates and other government incentives.
The four tax clinic locations are run on good will, and Dick is currently collecting all the necessary stationary to get the work done. A local accounting firm has donated paper, and in the past she received a donation of USB memory sticks – a key component, as volunteers aren’t allowed to save anyone’s data to the computers they use when filing. Beyond memory sticks, Dick said that her volunteers could also do with other, more basic supplies.
“Pens, we need pens,” she said. “Really good ones.”
Boundary tax clinics begin March 4.
2020 Income Tax Clinics
• Greenwood, on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon at Community Futures (245 South Copper St.)
• Grand Forks, on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Service BC (174 Market Ave.)
• Grand Forks, on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the library (7342 5th St.)
• Grand Forks, on Fridays from noon to 2 p.n. at Gospel Chapel (7048 Donaldson Dr.)