Volunteer Bureau to offer tax help Annual workshop slated Feb. 17

While figuring out their income tax may not be difficult for some, it can be stressful to others, especially if they can’t afford to hire a service to do it for them.
But the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau once again is offering a helping hand, with volunteers donating their time to aid low-income families, the disabled, and the elderly prepare their income tax forms before the April 30 deadline.
As such, an all-day training session (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) for those who want to help others do their taxes is slated for Thursday, Feb. 17 at the old CN station.
Karen Haney, assistant co-ordinator for the Volunteer Bureau, said anyone can volunteer to help others with their taxes. Having done it herself, she noted it’s a rewarding experience.
“I think for some people, taxes are really difficult to do. As we all know, with government forms it’s never fun,” she remarked.
“It’s a great service for some seniors and those who are disabled. And it’s free,” added Haney, noting that for someone with a low income, having to pay to have their taxes done takes a chunk out of the tax refund they really need.
Last year, the Volunteer Bureau had about 30 people attend the workshop.
Then starting in March, those who want help with their taxes, but can’t afford to get them done at a firm, can just bring the applicable forms and information to the Volunteer Bureau.
The information then will be given to trained volunteers to complete.
Volunteers also can pick up information from someone’s home—a huge benefit for elderly people and the disabled who may not be able to get to the volunteer bureau, Haney noted.
The program is based on a net income of $28,000 or less, but the service will be provided to those who exceed that amount in certain situations, she added.
For instance, new Canadians may make more than that but still not know how filing their income tax works.
Haney said the Volunteer Bureau also is interested in helping people help themselves so they don’t have to come back next year—or even could share their new skills with others in need.
The local Volunteer Bureau has been organizing this assistance for the past nine years.
Haney said the program handled about 500 tax returns last year.
If you have any questions about attending the Feb. 17 workshop, or getting your taxes done at the Volunteer Bureau, call Haney at 274-9555.