The Income Security Action Group of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force encourages everyone to file a tax return. For modest and low income Canadians, filing a tax return helps increase the number of benefits they can collect and may result in an increase in their income. There are some incredible volunteers that provide free tax services to people on low income all across Grey-Bruce. Support in filing your taxes is a hugely important anti-poverty and health intervention.
This year, under COVID19 conditions, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is changing how it provides free services. Most local organizations in Grey Bruce will be offering drop-off/pickup, virtual or phone services. The organizations and volunteers providing this service have been very creative about how to make sure these services stay available and diligently follow COVID-19 guidelines.
The government is using taxes to make sure people are receiving benefits and credits that they are eligible for; getting more money to those who need it. The best way to make sure you get the benefits you are eligible for is to file your income taxes each year. And the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is an excellent service to help you.
- Some of these benefits include the Canada Child Benefit, Trillium Benefit, GST/HST Credit, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
- Seniors living on a low income may qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS; Federal) and the Guaranteed Annual Income Systems (GAINS; Provincial).
- Entitlement to GAINS is assessed at the same time as GIS. This is not automatic; seniors have to apply to see if they are eligible. You can do this when you first apply for your Old Age Security (OAS) in Section C of the Application for the Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (ISP-3550).
- If you already receive OAS and want to apply for the GIS, you can apply on your My Service Canada Account or use the Application for the Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (ISP-3550). You need to file your taxes each year to reapply for these benefits.
There has been a lot of confusion and fear around filing taxes this year. For people who received any one of the five COVID-19 related benefits, filing your taxes is very important. It is the best way to keep receiving the benefits and credits you are entitled to. The government is going to make sure those who are eligible still get these benefits for the near future.
- If you do owe on your taxes and made less than $75,000 in 2020, the government is extending the time you have to pay to April 30th, 2022 and providing 0% interest for the first year. Completing your taxes this tax season is a good way to make sure you get benefits and credits you are eligible for and gives more flexibility and time to pay outstanding taxes.
The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force works with 211 each year to list all free tax services in Grey Bruce; to identify local barriers, and to engage with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), community organizations, and volunteers to address those barriers.
A list of clinic dates, times and locations can be found by calling 211 or go to the latest Free Income Tax Clinics Listing Grey Bruce on 211.
Do you offer a free clinic? Is your community without any services? Please contact us!