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Just ask Angie: Help is here for tax season

Q: Is the Resource Centre offering free tax preparation again this year?
Just Ask Angie file
Angie Theilmann is a information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre. She has a biweekly column with the Coast Reporter.

Q: Is the Resource Centre offering free tax preparation again this year? 

A: Yes! Free Community Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (CVITP) is back again. Use this program to get this year’s taxes done on time, or, if you’re behind on taxes, it can help you catch up. You can arrange to access the program through the Resource Centre, as well as via many locations and contacts up and down the Coast. (Listed in great detail at the end of the article!) 

To be eligible to get your taxes done for free, a person would earn up to $40,000, or a couple would have a combined income of up to $50,000. For each additional dependent you have, add $2,500 to either the individual or couple amount. These are guidelines, and if you’re close to the cutoff and not sure if you qualify, just ask the volunteers directly. Note: The program does not serve clients with employment expenses, self-employment income, rental property income, or capital gains. Interest income must be less than $1,000. Also, couples are expected to provide complete tax information for both spouses.  

Choose from three different ways to get your taxes done this year: 

Schedule yourself into a tax clinic where taxes are prepared by volunteers before your eyes. Advance appointments are required at the Resource Centre at 5710 Teredo Street in Sechelt, and you can book by calling 604-885-4088. Our appointments take about 30 minutes and are booked on Fridays in March and April from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details and days for other in-person clinic locations are listed below. 

The telephone or “virtual” option. That is, you call Louis the tax coordinator at 604-886-1995 and he can get all the information he needs from you over the phone in order to access your information via the Canada Revenue Agency’s tax system. This is a good option to get your taxes done without leaving the house! This is their third year offering the telephone option. 

Drop off your taxes at a participating organization. You’ll need to take 10 minutes or so to fill out some consent forms at the drop-off location. The volunteers for this program will call you to let you know when your return is ready for pick-up. You can drop-off and fill out a consent form at the Resource Centre, Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Note: The drop-off tax option happens year-round at the Resource Centre and Gibsons & District Public Library. 

By end of April, volunteers tend to be swamped, so if you’re part of the general public trying to meet the CRA’s return and payment deadline of April 30, 2023, then best to connect with volunteers sooner than later to be sure they can help you in time! As well, many government benefits (and other services or benefits) rely on taxes being done and up to date so that your benefits will not be interrupted. 

Full details for In-Person Tax Clinics and Drop-off/Pick-up Services:  

Sunshine Coast Resource Centre (107A-5710 Teredo St, Sechelt; next to Scotiabank) In-person clinics: Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For Appointments: 604-885-4088. For drop-offs: year-round, Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. first call 604-885-4088. 

Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre (5604 Trail Ave, Sechelt) In-person clinics: Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Book an in-person appointment: 604-740-2184. 

Sechelt Public Library (5797 Cowrie St, Sechelt) In-person clinics: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments: 604-885-3260. 

VCH Home and Community Care Office (5630 Inlet Ave, Sechelt) Drop-offs: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Gibsons & District Public Library (470 South Fletcher Rd, Gibsons) In-person clinics: Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments: 604-886-2130. Drop-offs: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Calvary Baptist Church of Gibsons (711 Park Rd, Gibsons) Drop-offs: Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ring doorbell at front door. 

Pender Harbour Community School (5012 Gonzales Rd, Pender Harbour) In-person clinics: Mondays 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. via Walk-In (first come - first serve). Drop-offs: Monday to Friday, drop-off via mail slot in door; 

Pender Harbour Health Centre (5066 Francis Peninsula Rd, Pender Harbour) In person: Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noon. Walk-in (first come, first serve). Drop-offs Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m./ Drop off at reception or make an appointment for Pender Harbour clinics by calling Harry at 604-741-5132. 

This free tax clinic service is offered thanks to generous volunteers in the community through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). If you would like to volunteer at CVITP, contact Louis at 604-886-1995. 

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Note: on some days, we can book clients after 2 p.m. Contact us: [email protected] or 604-885-4088