Tax help being offered again

It’s income tax time and 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 returns.
Volunteers underwent a training course, led by Julia Verhoeven of the Canada Revenue Agency, last Wednesday (Feb. 20) at the Volunteer Bureau to get informed on recent changes to filing income tax.
They now are ready to go.
Starting tomorrow (March 1), 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 (located in the old CN station).
The information (which will be kept confidential) then will be given to trained volunteers to complete.
Shut-ins who cannot get down to the Volunteer Bureau can call Bob Nye, who will pick up and deliver their tax forms for them. He can be reached at 274-4365.
The service is open not only to Fort Frances residents who fit the criteria, but also those living in the west end of the district.
Those living near Emo, Barwick, Stratton, and Rainy River First Nations, and needing help with their taxes, can call Joyous Bragg at 482-3948 (after 4 p.m. on Saturdays) or Jeannie Shine (486-3403).
As in previous years, the free help is aimed at those in a lower income bracket. Those with a net income of $25,000 or less ($30,000 or less for families) are eligible.
The CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program aims to help out Rainycrest residents and shut-ins, as well as low-income individuals and families, the disabled, aboriginals, students, and even those new to Canada.
Assistance will not be provided to those filing tax returns for the deceased or bankrupt, or those filing employment expenses, rental income, capital gains, foreign investments, giving or receiving support payments, or anything else that would be considered a complex return.
As well, the tax return only should be for the 2007 tax year, not multiple years.
It’s important that those who do seek help come prepared and bring all the necessary information with them. Even if the Volunteer Bureau has helped them file their taxes in the past, it will not have that information on file.
Given the numerous changes to tax returns this year (the Universal Child Care Benefit repayment, public transit amount, children’s fitness amount, etc.), those who bring in their tax information for help are encouraged to ask Volunteer Bureau staff whether they qualify for these new changes.