Abbotsford Community Services offers income-tax assistance

Abbotsford Community Services offers income-tax assistance

Program prepares returns free for low-income people over 55

Nobody looks forward to tax time but, for some people, filing taxes is extra challenging due to fixed incomes or limited computer skills.

Although their incomes might not be high, it’s important that they file so they can receive all the benefits they are entitled to.

The Canada Revenue Agency recently announced an automated telephone system called File My Return for approximately 950,000 Canadians with simple tax situations.

People with low incomes or a fixed income that is unchanged year to year started receiving invitation letters in the middle of February.

“We’re happy to see that the government is making a change to help low-income filers,” said Neil Stark, director of Seniors, Advocacy and Community Living at Abbotsford Community Services (ACS).

“We know that a lot of people have had trouble filing in the past, and we hope that this new service eliminates barriers. We will be studying this new program and learning how we can continue to help our clients.”

ACS offers an income tax preparation program that last year helped 4,000 people file their returns.

The service is being offered again this year for seniors who don’t quality for File My Return or prefer not to use it.

To qualify, clients must live in Abbotsford, be over 55, and have a simple tax situation.

Additionally, income must be under $30,000 for individuals, under $40,000 for couples and under $35,000 for single parents.

The service is free but donations are encouraged if the client is able to. The service covers tax years 2015 to 2017 and service is offered in English or Punjabi.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 604-870-3763 or by registering in person at the Seniors Department at the ACS head office on 2420 Montrose Ave.

For full details, call 604-870-3763 or visit AbbotsfordCommunityServices.com/tax.

The Clearbrook Golden Age Society also prepares tax returns free of charge for low-income people with simple tax returns.

That program serves individuals with an income of up to $30,000 and couples with an income of up to $40,000.

Clinics are conducted at Garden Park Tower (#203 2825 Clearbrook Rd.) from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Appointments can be booked by dropping by the office, calling 604-744-0109 or emailing incometax@gardenparktower.ca.