Lend a hand with fil­ing tax re­turns

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - LOIS ANN BAKER

There is never a short­age of or­ga­ni­za­tions look­ing for vol­un­teers, but here is one op­por­tu­nity that is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.

The Corn­wall Cana­dian Vol­un­teer In­come Tax Pro­gram is re­cruit­ing greeters and tax pre- par­ers for the 2017 tax sea­son. The CVITP of­fers in­come tax ser­vices for low-in­come fam­i­lies through MP Guy Lau­zon’s of­fice and is in need of vol­un­teers to greet clients and pre­pare the forms. The vol­un­teer re­cruit­ment pro­gram is called Lend a Hand.

“The big­gest rea­son we are do­ing this is be­cause it’s very frus­trat­ing try­ing to find vol­un­teers,” said Corn­wall CVITP co-or­di­na­tor Gary Chris­tiansen.

Vol­un­teers don’t have to be ac­coun­tants or have any special des­ig­na­tion, said Chris­tiansen.

“The in­come tax ser­vices we pro­vide here are of a sim­ple na­ture,” he said.

The greeter vol­un­teer po­si­tion is ba­si­cally as re­cep­tion­ist po­si­tion, said Chris­tiansen.

“We have some pa­per­work that has to be filled in be­fore we can start,” he said. “It’s re­ally easy to do and ba­si­cally they have to sign a per­mis­sion slip for us to do their taxes. They ac­knowl­edge we are vol­un­teers and not ac­coun­tants and that they pro­vided us truth­ful de­tails.”

Chris­tiansen said the pro­gram is all done on­line and the tax pre­par­ers just need to en­ter in the num­bers and the pro­gram cal­cu­lates the re­fund or the taxes ow­ing.

“It’s ba­si­cally data en­try,” he said. “It gives us the re­sult and then we efile and we give the con­fir­ma­tion num­bers to the client.”

Chris­tiansen said the greeters will help fill out any forms, keep them in order and do crowd con­trol.

“Dur­ing the busy time we have five tax pre­par­ers go­ing,” he said. “So it can be very noisy in here. Ide­ally we have two greeters.”

Chris­tiansen said they did over 5,000 re­turns ear­lier this year, which in­cluded clients with back taxes that needed to be filed.

“Dur­ing the busy sea­son, we start at the end of Fe­bru­ary and go through March and April, we are here five days a week, from 9:30 to 3:30 and we can put through 100 a day,” he said.

Af­ter that, they grad­u­ally cut down days and hours, but the pro­gram runs all year. Chris­tiansen said vol­un­teers can choose how many hours and days they want to vol­un­teer.

In­for­ma­tion on how to vol­un­teer can be found on MP Guy Lau­zon’s web­site, or by vis­it­ing the Gov­ern­ment of Canada web­site. Al­ter­na­tively, you can email Chris­tiansen at garyc.cvitp@gmail.com. lbaker@post­media.com twit­ter.com/LoisAn­nBaker

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