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Free income tax service re-starts in Trail with precautions

This program is for eligible low income or limited income earners

The free income tax service for low-income individuals and families living in Greater Trail is re-starting in the city with COVID-19 precautions in place.

Previous: COVID cancels free tax program for low income earners

Interviews are Tuesdays, including today, on May 19 and the final date, May 26, in the Trail United Church.

Volunteers with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program will be available only on these days and only in the downtown Trail church from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“We prepare and file personal income tax for low income people in the Greater Trail area, under the auspices of the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and our local sponsoring organization, the Trail FAIR Society,” Ellen Vallie told the Trail Times before COVID protocols shut down the free service in early March.

“There are an awful lot of benefits and credits that are based on income tax filing, especially for low income people, so the more they can get out of it, the better.”

Annual income maximums apply, such as a single-person cannot earn more than $35,000; two-person households cannot exceed $45,000; however, families greater than two are permitted $2,500 for each additional person.

To access the free tax program, all applicants must show up in-person and they must have government photo identification.

“You can’t bring in your husband’s or child’s,” Vallie pointed out. “Each person has to sign their permission for us to do the taxes, so it’s important that each person attends themselves.”

She reminds clients to bring all essential documents and receipts to the interview. A copy of the previous year’s return and/or the CRA Notice of Assessment for the previous year are also helpful.

New this year is a partnership between the volunteer-run program and FortisBC.

Vallie reminds clients to bring in their FortisBC bill and, if they so wish, a referral can be made to the utility company’s Energy Conservation Assistance Program. FortisBC offers free home energy upgrades for income-qualified households.

Once each person’s intake is complete, volunteers will finish the return and e-file it from their private offices.

“The client’s information is all kept confidential,” Vallie stressed. “Nothing is saved on our personal computers. If we need to save a file for any reason, it’s saved to an encrypted flash drive.”

After the CRA has confirmed acceptance of an e-filed tax return, all the client’s data is erased from the flash drive.

“Any tax paperwork is returned to the client and nothing is kept from year to year,” she said.

Completed returns should be picked up the following week. Any return not picked up within two weeks of application and filing will be shredded.

For more information contact the Trail FAIR Society at 250.364.2326 or email CVITP.Trail@gmail.com.


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