Free tax clinics for low-income families could provide big savings

by | Mar 22, 2024

Failure to file taxes can cost families access to government programs and benefits

Free tax clinics are being held throughout Carleton County through GNB’s Get Your Benefits program, which is a partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). 

These clinics aim to help low-income families access programs and benefits through the provincial and federal governments, which may improve their financial status.  

Wendy Marr is the Community Development Coordinator for the Western NB Regional Service Commission. She explained these clinics can help improve the financial circumstances of our most vulnerable people. 

Mar noted that poor awareness of available benefits, lack of confidence, low literacy levels, mental health struggles, or disabilities could all pose barriers to accessing proper tax counselling. Rural areas have also often lacked accessibility. She noted that some New Brunswick individuals or families have accessed over ten thousand dollars through these free tax clinics.

Marr informed the River Valley Sun that the tax clinics and potential benefits are not only for those with an income to claim. 

“It’s very important for people to understand that even if they have no income, filing their income tax could qualify them for such things as the GST/HST Credit and Climate Action Incentive Payment. 

Parents must file each year to continue receiving the Canada Child Benefit. They could be eligible for the School Supplement benefit and/or qualify for the Healthy Smiles, Clear Vision plan and the Canada Learning Bond. 

“There truly are many benefits and programs that are missed each year by people who choose not to file their taxes or who are unaware of benefits they may be eligible for,” said Marr. 

Regular free tax clinics will be held throughout the county, where residents can file their tax returns and apply for benefits. 

A “Super Clinic” will be held at St. James United Church in Woodstock on March 25, 2024, from 1 to 6 p.m. At this clinic, residents can also apply for Social Insurance Numbers and gain information about various programs, benefits, and credits, including applying for the Canada Learning Bond and Registered Disability Savings Plan.

For more information on available clinics, Marr recommended people visit the Get Your Benefits website at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/esic/get_your_benefits.html.

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