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Tax season is here, and local community volunteer tax clinics are seeing an increase in residents looking for informed, professional help.

Everyone should complete a tax return, and for modest and low income Canadians, filing that return may actually help increase the  number of benefits they can collect and may result in an increase in their income. Many Canadians have no idea they would get money back, and they fear being told they have to pay the government for back taxes they cannot afford. But this is not the case for most people on low income.

Here are three good reasons to file for 2016:

  • To qualify for programs including the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the GST/HST credit, and the Ontario Trillium Benefit, which all pay cash when you qualify.
  • To take advantage of certain tax credits like the Working Income Tax Benefit
  • To recover any tax you may have overpaid from your pay cheque.

"If a tax return is not filed, the family may miss out on benefits that could help increase their income and decrease health inequities," says Jill Umbach of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force. "There are some incredible volunteers that provide free tax services to people on low income all across Grey-Bruce. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these services to file this year's and prior years' taxes."

Support in filing your taxes is a hugely important anti-poverty and health intervention. The Canadian Revenue Agency supports programs that prepare taxes for low-income Canadians through its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Take advantage of the free tax clinics throughout Grey and Bruce. A list of clinic dates, times and locations can be found by calling 211 or check on line at 211 Information Bruce Grey or The HealthLine or this list compiled this month by the Grey Bruce Poverty Taskforce.


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