/Free income tax clinics remove barriers in the community

Free income tax clinics remove barriers in the community

by Thomas Smith

Central Food Network knows that filing your taxes can be a scary, complicated, and stressful process. In collaboration with the Canadian Revenue Agency, free income tax clinics will be offered in Wilberforce, Minden, and Haliburton. A growing team of seven volunteers are excited to help the community this tax season.

“This program is a great way for someone who is intimidated by the process and to ensure their taxes are done correctly,” says Lindsay Hobbs, Income Tax Clinic Coordinator.

“Tax filing means a lot more than having to pay interest or get refunds.”

Not filing your taxes can cut off crucial subsidies. Canada child benefits,GST/HST rebates, guaranteed income supplement for low income seniors, and rent geared to income housing subsidies need to know your tax information to apply and receive benefits, says Hobbs.

“It’s helpful for seniors, housing insecure, new Canadians, people with disabilities, seniors, and youth,” explains Hobbs. “Those that are not the best served by the system. We hope to remove these barriers.”

These free income tax return clinics start on Feb. 29 and will be offered by appointment every Thursday in Wilberforce at the Lloyd Watson Community Centre. Clinics will alternate each week and offer appointments in Minden at the Community Food Centre on Tuesdays and in Haliburton at the Youth Hub every Monday (with the exception of Mar. 4th, when appointments will be held at the Legion).

Only those with a modest income may book an appointment. Those with incomes that primarily come from employment, pensions, disability benefits, and EI are welcomed to book an appointment. Complex tax situations include rental income, self employment, and foreign income.

Taxes are a gatekeeper to those that crucially need the funds to support themselves and survive, says Hobbs.

If you or someone you know would like to make an appointment with the free income tax clinic, call Rachel at 705-306-0565 or email rachel@centralfoodnetwork.org. You will be told what information you need to bring to your appointment and be matched with the perfect tax expert. At your appointment, a drink and snack will be served and their volunteer will work with you to ensure your taxes get filed correctly. The tax clinics have ensured welcoming and inclusive spaces to make the tax process as painless as possible.