The District of Muskoka is looking for some volunteers to help with an important local cause.
As tax season nears, the district is gearing up for its annual Tax Income Clinics, which offers help with returns for residents on disability, seniors and families or residents who may not be able to afford tax services. Manager of Programs for Ontario Works Marie Malcolm says you don’t need to be a tax pro to lend a hand.
“A volunteer would primarily need to have an interest in helping folks out,” says Malcolm. “If there is any background in accounting, tax preparation that is a bonus, but not a requirement.”
She says the tax returns are primarily run online through a program the filer will just need help navigating.
The clinics will start running ahead of tax time early next year, so Malcolm says they’re hoping to have volunteers in place by the end of the year. Earlier this year, the district was able to run about 70 tax clinics and helped file about 2,200 tax returns. Malcolm says with the program gaining more interest each year they’re hoping to offer about the same.
“We would love to be running with about 20 [volunteers] or so,” says Malcolm. “We would really love for folks to sign up with us before the end of December because it gives us time to get all of the paperwork and their E-file number through [the CRA].”
Because volunteers need to be registered with Canada Revenue Agency there is a bit of training required in January. But, Malcolm says if you don’t have time to stop by for a session there are webinars you can do at home.
Each clinic can run between four and six hours a day and you can sign up for one or multiple depending on how much time you have.
“We provide them with a schedule of what we’re doing and ask them what they’re availability is,” says Malcolm. “We do have some volunteers who basically were doing it weekly, but that’s not a requirement, we’re pretty open to what people can do.”
If you’re interested in signing up to help out you can contact Malcolm by calling 705-645-2412 ext. 4202. She says the clinic dates will be posted on the district website and shared with local media partners by late January.