Senior’s Column: Filing taxes for a return

The annual Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) will spring into action once again before the end of February.

Marilyn Boxwell

The annual Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), serving low to modest-level residents as a free assist in completing and filing one’s annual return will spring into action once again before the end of February.

In existence locally for the past twelve years, our volunteer team consists at this time, of at least three highly experienced individuals who donate their time and effort without any charge or remuneration being levied.

Trained in the use of Canada Revenue-approved and supplied software, our Nakusp-region team of volunteers stand ready to provide assistance to persons of any age (not just seniors, although a majority of applicants needing help are older individuals who reside within our district). There are some stipulations however, and these should be noted: Tax returns must be simple (no business, bankruptcy or estate returns can be handled). No returns associated with the recent death of an individual can be dealt with, as these returns frequently are associated with legal and estate matters. Our volunteers are not qualified to handle these types of requests although they can refer an applicant to the appropriate Canada Revenue staff person who will be ready to provide information and referrals when necessary.

Once an income tax return is digitally filed, Canada Revenue staff update personal and confidential records then use the data contained. This then serves as proof of your income level and eligibility for numerous financial or service benefits which in many cases, must be applied for if this is the initial application as in the case of certain pensions, allowances or supplements one can be eligible to receive.

Up until recently, paper filed tax packages have been a standard vehicle through which your income tax package is used.  However, for the past couple of years, our volunteer team has been trained by Canada Revenue and kept updated on the recommended digital method.

Canada Revenue requests that we all become aware that paper form packages will soon be a thing of the past.  We recognize that not everyone has the convenient use or access to a computer himself or herself, however we do.  This is one of the primary reasons why the CVITP plays a successful role throughout our region and in the case of many other program volunteers in communities located across the country.

For information on how to become a qualified member of our local tax program team and for any other related subjects such as obtaining your program license and validity of team participation, you are welcome to contact me (Marilyn Boxwell, local volunteer coordinator since 2003).

Note that under new legislation for security purposes, it is necessary for anyone handling the confidential records belonging to an applicant to undergo an RCMP check prior to being accepted as a team member.  All existing team members have already followed through or are in the process of doing so regarding this mandatory procedure.

 

Details of just when the local CVITP opens its doors to receiving requests for assistance will be announced prior to the end of February, if not before. I will carry this information in one of the weekly Seniors’ Columns published in the Arrow Lakes News.  Call Marilyn, 250-265-0075.