Tax time is almost here, and so are CPA’s annual Tax Clinics. Each spring, from March to April, CPA members and candidates can volunteer to help low-income Albertans complete their tax returns free of charge. The clinics are held in Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding communities in co-operation with seniors’ homes, community centres and other not-for-profit agencies. Last year, over 300 volunteers prepared 2400 income tax returns for those in need—but there are many more low-income individuals that need your help.
For more information on the Tax Clinic Program, available positions or to sign up as a volunteer, visit: http://www.cpaalberta.ca/Services/Volunteer-Opportunities/Tax-Clinic-Program
About the Tax Clinic Program
Tax Clinic Volunteers are not only seasoned tax practitioners but CPAs from various employment sectors with varying levels of experience, including CPA candidates.
That tremendous level of participation grew from much smaller beginnings. During the program’s inaugural year in 1973, three pilot tax clinics were held at local senior citizen homes and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Today, the program hosts clinics at more than 100 tax sites, including emergency shelters, centres for teenage parents, family support centres and senior community centres. CPAs and CPAs take their own laptops—loaded with the latest tax return software proudly sponsored by Intuit—to assist the elderly, disabled, unemployed, and new Canadian citizens that are financially disadvantaged complete their annual personal tax returns at program sites.
The gratification of helping, the overwhelming appreciation of the service, the thousands of “thank-yous,” and the pats on the back for a job well-done are surely the reason volunteers and clinic organizers keep coming back year after year.
Tax Clinic Sponsors
Stories of Success
Trish Axten, Volunteer Coordinator, CNIB-Calgary
“The tax clinic really helped a lot of our low-income clients who have trouble with their eyesight. The volunteer accountants were great and very friendly with everyone. Thank you.”
Kolawole Balogun CPA, CA (Nigeria)
“As a first timer, one of the seniors noticed my initial reaction. She was very patient with me and after the exercise, she prayed, appreciated and wished me well in my career. I felt fulfilled assisting my community. I am looking forward to next year’s clinic.”
Cassandra Towpich, West Hillhurst Go-Getters Association
“Each year we are provided with volunteers who are great with our senior members and are just generally fantastic to work with. I look forward each tax season to working with these volunteers as our membership appreciates their help and really makes it easy to get their taxes completed. Thank you!”
Greg Bounds CPA, CMA
“I am writing to express what a positive experience I had as a first time volunteer tax preparer, at two tax clinics held at Braemer School. Delilah, from Terra, did a fantastic job organizing the space and equipment. The Terra and school team for screening and coordinating the clients we saw. We were made very welcome by school office staff and in particular by the “IT / CTS guy”. All the CPA volunteers I worked with over the two days were knowledgeable, talented, collegial and fun to work alongside. Likewise, the orientation session, training and support was appreciated and made me proud to be a member. Most importantly, it was my pleasure to work with the young ladies to complete their tax returns.”
Debbie LaRocque, Ogden House Seniors
“Having the same volunteers come back to do our seniors taxes has been very successful. Seeing a familiar face at a stressful time is wonderful. The seniors feel that they have a friendly and familiar face help them through this stressful time which is very helpful.”
Karen Miller CPA, CGA
“It was fantastic to be a part of such an appreciated service.”