Information about the volunteer tax preparation clinics on display at the Stettler Information and Referral Centre.

Volunteer program helps Stettler residents file more than 500 tax returns

The volunteer tax preparation program is designed to help people who can't access accounting services.

Another tax season has come and gone, and volunteers in Stettler have been busy throughout the past two months helping people file their tax returns.

Through the Stettler Information and Referrals Centre, a group of volunteers work to provide free tax preparation services for qualifying individuals and families.

“A lot of people can’t afford to go to an accountant, and every penny that they can save helps,” explained Lorraine Hankins, executive director of the Information and Referrals Centre. “So if we can help out to save some costs, it’s great.”

The tax preparation program runs year-round, but March and April is when most of the work happens, Hankins explained.

This year, volunteers in the program helped complete over 500 tax returns, which is on par with their annual average, according to Hankins.

The program is part of a national initiative spearheaded by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Through CRA, local volunteers receive training to help individuals and families complete basic tax returns, free of charge.

Qualification for the program is based on each person’s income level, and those who don’t qualify are referred to an accountant.

Every year, volunteers across the country complete “hundreds of thousands of tax returns per year for free,” Hankins said.

The volunteers at the Information and Referrals Centre come from all walks of life, although they all have some interest in accounting.

“They usually have accounting experience or are interested in going into the accounting field,” Hankins commented.

This year, new government programs such as carbon tax rebate mean that some people may get increased rebates, depending on their income level.

As of January 1 2017, single adults earning less than $51,250 and families with combined incomes of less than $100,000 will receive carbon tax rebates from the Alberta government.

In order to claim these rebates, all you need to do is keep your tax returns up to date.

“If you don’t file your tax return, you miss out on the government programs,” Hankins said.

For those who have missed the filing deadline, Hankins encourages late filing, even if you haven’t filed your taxes for several years.

“With the economy, we find that there are more people who haven’t filed taxes for a long time,” she said.

The good news is that you can still claim benefits retroactively, even if you haven’t filed a tax return for several years.

“We usually do returns from up to 10 years back,” Hankins said.

The goal of the tax preparation program, she said, is to help people keep their taxes up to date and to take the cost out of the equation for those who would find cost to be a barrier.

 

Just Posted

Magician Steve Harmer levitates table Nov. 22

Clearview schools students watch illusionist float end table around gym

Don’t miss ‘Dark Winter Polar Nights’ at Stettler Public Library

International Holiday Potluck coming on Dec. 6

County balks at credit cards for tax payments

Ambulance mix-ups discussed by county council Nov. 8

Big Hank’s Tribute to Blues Christmas songs in support of Stettler Food Bank

Win 2 tickets to this rousing All-star line-up of 20’s 30’s 40’s 50’s and 60’s tunes

Stettler County campground broken into Nov. 13

Stettler RCMP looking for two suspects in B&E investigation

Magician Steve Harmer levitates table Nov. 22

Clearview schools students watch illusionist float end table around gym

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

VIDEO: ‘She is a tough cookie,’ says husband of found B.C. dog walker

Annette Poitras found alive in the woods on Wednesday morning

Opioid prescriptions up across Canada: report

The report shows the number of opioid prescriptions rose by almost seven per cent, while daily doses on average dropped

Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci warns that Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regulations

Washington governor tells BC don’t be ‘daunted’ by Trump

“I want to assure this assembly that no matter who is in the White House, it won’t affect Washington state’s relationship with Canada or British Columbia.”

Feds plan to spend billions on housing strategy

However much of the $15.9 billion will not be spent until after the next election in 2019

Most Read