Volunteer Bureau to offer tax help

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.
As such, 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.
A training course for volunteers will be offered by Julia Verhoeven, with the Canada Revenue Agency, next Wednesday (Feb. 20) at the Volunteer Bureau (located in the old CN station).
A course for new volunteers will be held from 9 a.m.-noon while a refresher course to let past volunteers know what’s new with tax returns will be held from 1-4 p.m.
Debbie Bazylewski, administrative assistant for the Volunteer Bureau, said yesterday that Verhoeven will lead volunteers through a trial run to show, step-by-step, how to fill out and file 2007 tax returns.
Bazylewski stressed prospective volunteers shouldn’t be daunted by the task of filling out other people’s tax forms, adding it’s easy with the help of computer software.
She added while some people help out with this service year after year, more volunteers are always welcome to help during tax time.
“You get a lot of satisfaction knowing that you’ve helped somebody out with something that might not seem difficult to you, but is difficult to them,” she remarked, noting volunteers get the added bonus of keeping updated on tax regulations and what’s new when it comes to filing out their own tax returns.
Starting 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.
The information then will be given to trained volunteers to complete. This information will be kept confidential.
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 Volunteer Bureau is aiming to help out Rainycrest residents and shut-ins, as well as low-income individuals and families, the disabled, and even those new to Canada.
However, 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 should only be for the 2007 tax year, not multiple years.
As of March 1, those who want help with their taxes can just bring the applicable forms and information to the Volunteer Bureau’s office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
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.
The bureau will file people’s taxes electronically for them if they so choose. The turnaround on refunds is typically 10-15 days.
The Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau has been organizing this assistance for more than 10 years.
Call 274-9555 if you have any questions.